Many complications can develop from whooping cough. These include lung infection (pneumonia), pulmonary hypertension, ear infections, seizures, weight loss, dehydration, and injuries caused by severe coughing (such as cracked ribs or a hernia). When these problems are severe, they may require more treatment or a hospital stay. Pneumonia and other types of lung infections or problems may be treated with antibiotics, oxygen, and assisted ventilation.
Improved treatments have made problems from whooping cough less severe than in the past. But the disease and its complications are still a serious health issue. This is especially true for children younger than 4 months of age. Adults age 60 and older also are at increased risk for severe problems.