Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Whooping Cough, Why Worry?


Whooping cough is a highly infectious respiratory illness caused by Bordetella pertussis, a known player in the infectious disease world since the 16th century. In its heyday it was responsible for at least 200,000 cases a year just in the United States. These cases were reduced significantly with the development of the vaccine in the 1940's. However, since the 1980's there has been a steady increase again with 9000 cases in 2002 , and 25,000 cases in 2004. The reason for this is unknown, but here's what you need to know.

--The diagnosis is very difficult to make, and it is mostly based on clinical exam and history (not labs) so pay attention to your symptoms which usually occur in 3 stages:

1. Catarrhal stage: 1-2 weeks of cold like symptoms with runny nose, congestion.
2. Paroxysmal stage: 1-6 weeks of severe, rapid coughing spells ending in a long
inspiratory effort with a high pitched whoop. Characteristically this cough ends with vomiting and exhaustion and it is usually worse at night as the lungs try to expel the thick mucus. The patient may appear normal between these attacks.
Hear how it sounds.
3. Convalescent stage: you finally get better in another 2-3 weeks.


--All adults 19 - 64 years old and especially those with infants should receive the new pertussis vaccine which is given as one shot in combination with the diphtheria/tetanus vaccine. It is not a live vaccine so there is no risk of getting the disease from the vaccine. It is considered safe and effective, however, its safety in pregnant women and in those over 65 has not yet been established. Teens 11 - 18 are also recommended to get the vaccine. The immunity from this vaccine is expected to last 6-10 years.

--All close contacts of a patient with whooping cough are recommended to be treated with Erythromycin or sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim for 14 days.

--The patient should be isolated for 5 days after antibiotic therapy has started, and contact with infants should be completely avoided.

Please contact your doctor if you have any concerns.


References:
http://www.medem.com/
http://www.whoopingcough.net/
www.chestnet.org
http://www.cdc.gov/nip/vaccine/tdap/tdap_adult_recs.pdf
The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics, Volume 48 (Issue 1226), Jan 16, 2006.
Photo courtesy of duke.usask.ca

64 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent review and info. If I had a recent Tetanus vaccine (4 years ago) but want to be immunized against whooping cough, is it safe to have another tetanus so soon?

Dr. Taraneh Razavi said...

Good question. The Medical Letter, Volume 48 (Issue 1226) confirms that it is safe to receive the new vaccine as soon as 2 years from the last tetanus vaccine.

Dirson said...

Interesting. Any common disease at the Googleplex?

Dr. Taraneh Razavi said...

No common disease at Googleplex. Just being preventive.

GUAGUAU said...

HOLA QUEDASTE EMI POST, ESPERO UNA ENTREVISTA

Trudy Bentley Rech said...

As a former public health nurse epidemiologist...I am thrilled to see this type of info online. Way to go Dr. Razavi!

As much as I loved tracking diseases, I went back to my original path of fine art (yes, I did medical illustrations in the past, too.), but communicable diseases are just so interesting, I will always strive to stay up to date in this field!

Best regards,
Trudy

wfzimmerman said...

My wife and kids had pertussis last summer. It was fun creating our own public health emergency!

One key fact that may be of interest to parents is that the definitive diagnosis requires STICKING A 6-INCH METAL PROBE UP THE CHILD'S NOSE. 'Nuff said.

SF Photorama said...

My God, how scary can that be??

Dev said...

Ah, Bordetella pertussis.. if only the attenuated vaccine in the DTaP didn't lose it's effectiveness. Microbiology for life!

Armen T. Ghazarians said...

Its cousin, Bordetella bronchiseptica, is usually the cause of pneumonia, otitis media, and other respiratory infections in animals. Like humans, many pets are vaccinated against B. bronchiseptica.

mooncrazy said...

I had whooping cough when I was one and I'm 57 now. Does that make me immune or should I get the vacine?

Great blog, going to book mark this one.

Anonymous said...

Make that 25,001 cases in 2004, as mine was never reported. AND, I didn't figure out what it was until after I got over it. Multiple doctor's visits yielded a diagnosis of me suddenly becoming an asthmatic. I've never been sicker in my life, and if I didn't routinely telecommute, I'm not sure I would have remained employed. I couldn't go anywhere, much less have a conversation. The coughing bouts often ended in complete loss of breath and vomiting, and that lasted for over one month. After that, laughing easily started a minor bout, with much less side effects - but very irritating. That lasted for around 2 months. GET A VACCINE.

Dr. Taraneh Razavi said...

This is an excellent point.
The number of cases are probably grossly underestimated as the disease is very difficult to diagnose and often not reported officially.
Glad you finally recovered.

Dr. Taraneh Razavi said...

To mooncrazy

That's a very good question.The natural immunity attained by getting the disease as opposed to the vaccine can be stronger, but it's hard to know how long that immunity lasts. Have you checked with your doctor? He may offer a blood test to see if you have antibodies present in your blood or just give you the acellular pertussis vaccine which is considered effective and safer than the whole cell perutssis vaccine.

Stephan & Laura said...

If you were immunized as a child, do you need to get a new immunization? This was probably about 33-34 years ago for me (in Europe).

Stephan & Laura said...

Oops, just saw that "The immunity from this vaccine is expected to last 6-10 years." I guess I'm 20+ years overdue then.

Anonymous said...

Do you see any reason for a healthy person over 65 NOT to get such an immunization? Seems to me that just like the flu shot or pneumonia shot, it would be a good precaution for healthy seniors.

Dr. Taraneh Razavi said...

No, I do not. The only reason that the recommendation is up to 64 is because the group of patients in the study were 8-64 years old.

To be by the book we have to say under 65. But speak with your doctor. I know of other doctors who are not cutting off at any age.

Very good question.

Anonymous said...

Wow... I had whooping cough 3 weeks before having my boostex shot (Tetanus/Whooping Cough/Hepatitis) at school. I was actually still experiencing the symptoms, although they were not bad. I didn't have any bad reactions to the shot, which is lucky. In fact, I'm sure that it helped me get over it faster.
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http://www.mediahug.com/

Anonymous said...

I did not have a immunisation against whooping cough when i was little as there is a history of epilepsy in my family and we were told this may cause me to get epilepsy. do you think i should be immunitised or is there any thing else i can do to not get whooping cough and epilepsy?

cindyth said...

my son had whooping cough back in 1993 when he was 2 1/2 months old. it was terrible. he is in our st johns phamlet as there miracle baby that year. they traced it back to an 8 year old boy that had never had his immunization shots that was in the office when our son had his first set of shots.
the first year at home he was on a sleep apnea machine and oxygen when needed, plus he had to have throat surgery cause his airways collapsed. scary stuff...

Anonymous said...

My doctor does not give whooping cough shots to patients 65 and older. Neither does either of the local emergency clinics I called. To find out a doctor who does, is there a better way than phoning doctors one by one through the yellow pages?
(Meanwhile--anybody with a parent or other family member or friend in their 60's--if they are planning to get the shot, tell them not to wait till they're 65!)

Anonymous said...

My son (11)had whooping cough last fall. He still has a mild cough brought on by general colds and allergens. Thx for talking about this. It was very hard to get him diagnossed. You are absolutely right about lab tests being of use here. I went online and did lots of reserch and brought it to my Dr after 3 visits. One of my son`s friends was diagnosed with whooping at the same time so we we felt sure.

Kate Adams said...

I was another undiagnosed case in early 2001. I didn't even realise I'd had whooping cough until a few years later when I heard an audio of that distinctive cough (which ended with more of an inhaled groaning noise). I'd been vaccinated as a child, though, so the illness was relatively mild - it only lasted a week or so with no lingering effects.

Chick2Geek said...

I contracted the whooping cough this year. I was so un-educated that I actually laughed at the doctor when he told me. I had no idea it was possible at my age, or in this time. Call me ignorant. It took 2 1/2 months to recover... and my vocals are still damaged because of it. I suggest getting "the shot". You do not want to go through the whooping cough!!!! I got it at age 30... not fun

cj said...

I am 54 years old an had whooping cough Dec.2005 thru March 2006. Thought I was gonna die, at times hoped I would die. I have fibromyalgia and I catch everthing out there. Last week my Dr. advised me to get a Mumps shot. I did. I don't ever want to cough and gag like that again!!!!

Anonymous said...

I was refused the whooping cough shot because I am over 64. However, the clinic was fine with giving me a combined shot (Tdap)--a combination of pertussis, diphtheria, and tetanus. The logic here escapes me, but--oh, well. If you have a senior in your family who wants/needs the pertussis shot, maybe this will work for them too.

Anonymous said...

My whooping cough started in jan 2006, my doc said it was a virus,everybody was coughing,no reason for antibiotics & because I didn't cough when I was in is office he thought I was exagerating. I told him I was coughing up mucus--he said as long as it wasn't yellow,green,bloody or black not to worry. I stayed away from my new granddaughter as I didn't want to give her my "virus"--I coughed so much my back was sore, my abdomen was sore,I couldn't sleep at night, was exhausted all the time. After weeks of it,one of my employees suggested I might have lung cancer and should get a chest xray.I never smoked,have always been healthy, etc.,but she said "Dana Reeve" and scared me so I researched lung cancer,TB and other things, I concluded it was pertussis--the 100 day cough. Also read there were outbreaks in NY that started Oct 2005 and in different CA communities. I was happy because it was now March (3 mo) so I thought it would be over. My doc (3rd visit) laughed when I told him and gave him all the info--he finally prescribed Z-pak. I got no better so went to an infectious disease specialist, blood test showed I had it but he said it was over and the coughing would subside. (My titer is higher than if I would have just been immunized.) Said he couldn't report it to the state or CDC as you have to have 3 confirming tests and it was too late for the cough plate and the other test. Fortunately I have been very careful and haven't given it to anyone else, haven't had a social life, haven't gone shopping, etc. Stayed away from my infant granddaughter as it can be fatal to infants even though her pediatrician said she'd be fine because she had already had her series of shots. I even thought I might have picked it up from being around her when she got her shots but he said no. I haven't been contagious for the last six months but it is hell. It is more than 7 months now. I still have 5 or 6 attacks a day, have to sleep sitting up but get little sleep as I have attacks all night long. I gag and throw up which ends the attack--but another one soon comes. I have a very thick clear sticky mucus but can't seem to get it up enough. I'm embarrassed to say I cough so hard I've had to start wearing panty liners, I though I should take sleeping pills to get some rest but then I thought I might not wake up when I had to cough and then I would die. Even if I had known about the vaccine I wouldn't have gotten it as I've never gotten flu shots and never get sick--have been healty and fit all my life--until now--I'm 63. This has been the worse--I recommend every one get booster shots every 10 years.As soon as I get over this I'm going to get a booster for every disease around. I had to stop going out to dinner, etc., when I had attacks people came running thinking I was choking and dying. When I cough it feels as if my eyes are going to pop out, my nose runs, use a half box of tissues a day. I can only recall having a fever for one day in early January and feeling like I had a cold or flu for about 2 or 3 days--never missed a day of work but got there late often as I've been so tired. Other than the coughing and the side effects of it I've been fine but exhausted all the time. The only thing surprising to me is that I never got a sore throat with all the coughing. I'm now wondering if I've gotten a secondary respiratory problem. GET YOUR SHOTS.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Our family went to Kansas City and while we were at a gallery I noticed a 12 year old boy from Texas with the most horrible cough I have ever heard. He was right next to our 13 year old. They were playing a game but I knew it was too late, our 13 year old was going to catch whatever that kid had. Within 2 weeks our 13 year old was coughing at night. It lasted 3 weeks, and his cough was only at night and bad enough to wake him 2 or 3 times a week over that period but not bad enough to prevent him from sleeping the rest of the time. Then our 17 year old caught it and it ran the same 3-week course. She was on Singulair and said she thinks it kept her from being as sick as her brother was. When she got well, I caught it and I've never been so sick in my life. I had the prolonged cough and couldn't get any air so the whoop part of the cough was a deep gasp for air. I nearly passed out, had a little vomiting 3 times but the worse part was the sleep deprivation. I had to sleep sitting straight up for three weeks, could sleep for 2 hours and then suddenly would be stricken with very violent coughing attacks. I coughed up 4-6 oz of phlegm a night, well over a gallon of suffocating phlegm over the course of 5 weeks. An x-ray came back abnormal, a CAT scan was done and I was told the problem was atelectasis, that parts of my lungs were not getting any air. I'm 45 years old, this is the first year in my life I have ever had to go to a doctor for a cough! My advice is to get the vaccine. Our 8 year old did not catch this, he had his last booster when he was 6 and my husband did not catch it because we have a sick routine which we follow whenever anyone is sick. Should you get this nasty disease, protect your ribs by holding a pillow when you cough. My ribs are still healing, along with my lower back. I even tore the ligament at the base of my tongue. Pertussis can wreak havoc. Get the vaccine.

Anonymous said...

It is rare to hear an audio of the disease. I thank you so much because I think I can rule this out of my daughter's coughing fits.

Anonymous said...

I am 29 years old and was diagnosed with Whooping cough 2 months ago. As a child I had an allergic reaction to the DPT Vaccine and never recieved the piece for pertussis.

I am through the worst of it finally, however am now left with nagging coughing fits when I yawn, stretch my neck, laugh or do any strenuous activities. I am a runner and want to get back out there...any thoughts on how long this will linger?

azzurral said...

I've been coughing for 3 weeks and have been told that there isn't any treatment for whooping cough. Would Erythromycin or sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim work for me?

Dr. Taraneh Razavi said...

Hi Azzurral

I can't give any medical advice on an individual basis but I can say that in general Erythromycin and Trimethoprim/Sulfa work for whooping cough. However, they usually work best if started early in the first 2 weeks.

Anonymous said...

What great info! I just got pre-diagnosed with Whooping Cough yesterday. My blood work is in the lab. I have a few questions I could use answers to:

1.) My husband hasn't had the Tdap booster and hasn't shown signs of illness. Should he go to the doctor right away and get it? Should he start antibiotics just in case?

2.) Is my 6 year-old safe? She's up to date on her immunizations.

3.) I've been around SO many people when I thought I just had a common cold. How contagious is it? Should I let people know?

4.) My nephew is 4 1/2 months old and has two of his Tdap shots. I was with him last week. Is he at risk or is that enough for him?

5.) Finally, if I'm ill with Whooping Cough right now, when can I get my Tdap booster?

Thanks so much!

Dr. Taraneh Razavi said...

--I can't give individual advice, but in general if the suspicion for whooping cough is strong, then it is recommended for family members to get treated with the antibiotics. They can get the vaccine as well.

--Regarding the children, it would be best to check with their pediatrician. The 6 year old should be protected. I can't say anything about the infant as it depends on the timing of the shots.

--It is very contagious. Please check with your doctor regarding his or her recommendations about notifying people.

--Anyone who has had the disease develops natural immunity against future cases.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this info!! Now I am wondering if this could be what I have. For the past month I have not had a good nights sleep (except last weekend when I tool a sleeping pill). I cough pretty much all night long and cough until I am out of breath and throwing up phlem. It has seriously affected my work and daily life. I have been to the doctor twice for this. He perscribed Nexium and said he felt it was acid reflux related since I had had issues with that recently. The Nexium has not helped and I am desperate. The doctor seems to be just as confused as I am. I am thinking it is time to look for a new doctor!

I really hope what I have is not this but in a way it would be a relief to actually know what the problem was!

Dr, in my case I only cough at night and it is violent coughing, could this possibly be what I have? There is a huge amount of phlem I throw up as well. It is never a dry cough.

Anonymous said...

I caught whooping cough & started experiencing symptoms almost 2 weeks after giving birth to my daughter by c-section. I think I was infected when at the hospital. I have never been so sick in my life. This was the worst experience of my life. I went to 6 different physicians because I knew I was really ill & the first five told me they thought it was viral & wouldn't order labs or give me antibiotics. So I never received treatment within the 1st stages of the illness. Keep in mind also that I had a c-section. I ripped the stitches from coughing so hard. I really thought I was going to die I was so sick. I thought I gave the illness to my newborn, & by the grace of God somehow I didn't. I didn't start wearing a face mask around her until after my symptoms appeared. Nine months later, the symptoms still linger. My lungs & chest area remain tender & sometimes hurt. I see a pulmonoligist & I have 3 different kinds of inhalers. I've also been on steroids pretty much since I was diagnosed because when I come off them I start wheezing & have severe asthma-like attacks where I end up in the hospital again & again. I am finally off the last round of steroids & no severe asthma attack yet, but still wheezy. I am now trying to finally stay off oral steroids & instead am using Advair, which has been the next most effective solution to the asthma attacks. So for anyone wondering if you should get the vaccine, do it! Especially if you smoke or were a smoker & tell people about this vaccination. I was hospitalized because of how this illness affected me.

Anonymous said...

Hello,

My six-year old daughter, and possible the rest of us, has whooping cough. Does this mean she will never get it again - ie. does this confer lifelong immunity on her?

Thanking you.
V.C.

Anonymous said...

Just adding to the post above. My daughter was not vaccinated against Pertussis.
V.C.

tiredofit said...

I just took the nasal swab test to confirm pertussis but have to wait another week for results. When I first became sick I woke up with no hearing in my left ear. It's now been 5 weeks of no hearing and cough still bad as ever. Is this related to pertussis and will it be permanent? My doc says it's due to the congestion and will clear up on it's own. What do you think? Should I see an ENT?

Anonymous said...

My two daughters, 4 & 2 years old, have been sick for 27 days now. Our first suspicion was just a nasty virus, but then it started looking like the whooping cough bacteria, as the coughing fits entailed a whoop and vomiting of this thick sticky mucous. I had a throat culture done(which wasn't a 6" metal probe, but a thin plastic tube) at day 15, which, as I've read, should have showed the bordetella bacteria as it hadn't been over 3 weeks since the initial onset of symptoms; but it did NOT. I am still convinced this is what ailment they have, though their pediatrician doesn't believe this to be the case. She told me there are some "look-alike" viruses out there. Has anyone heard of any? My friends son, whom the girls contracted this nasty thing from, is on week seven with his illness. Though, unlike my girls, his vomitting has subsided & according to his mom, only lasted one week. Possibly due to the fact that his mother completely modified his diet, as I have; completely eliminating dairy products, as this is well proven to increase mucous production. As well wheat products are restricted, along with other flours. My friend has used chinese herbs prescribed by her Naturopathic Doctor, which seem to have helped tremendously. I, however, cannot afford these expensive remedies, so have used common, readily available herbs & teas. I'm exhausted, as well as stir crazy being a single mom & not having had a break in so long...I'm really wanting to know if pertussis is EVER contagious past 3 weeks into it. People around here refuse to do childcare as they are worried it's still contagious due to the vomitting. My children are not immunized, with good reason, but this one(pertussis bacteria) is so lengthy, I'd recommend the vaccination!

Anonymous said...

I'm seventeen and have had the whooping cough since september. I have every single symptom of it yet every doctor I have been to refuses to diagnose it as whooping cough, especially as all my immunisations are up-to-date: 'yea, it sounds like whooping cough, but all your immunisations are up-to-date so I don't see how it can be'. I recently was speaking to a girl who also had the virus for very long time yet every doctor she went to said it was a viral cough that would disappear in about three weeks. She had it for ten months and eventually went to an older doctor who confirmed she had whooping cough, but she was told not to tell anyone she had it, so perhaps the reason cases of whooping cough have been increasing in recent years is because anyone who does have it is unaware as their doctor is deliberately not diagnosing it.

Anonymous said...

NY resident.
my husband brought home Whooping cough 38 days ago. (test came back possitive)

he's better now.

im still choking on on thick, clear, mucus. i have to spit up every half hour or i start to choke and cant breathe.

help. i've had steroids and antibiotics (started within 1st week diagnosed.)

how long will this go on? i feel like my life has completely stopped because of this.

Thanks for any help.

WhoopinItUp said...

I developed a severe cough in July 2005 that brought me to the ER only to be misdiagnosed with Asthma. Two weeks later, the whoop started at the end of the coughed jags, but my doctor was not prepared in her office to swab for it, nor was the hospital! It wasn't until late into the whole ordeal that I realized what it was and my doctor finally gave me a probable diagnosis with no report to the CDC. It was almost exactly 100 days of pure hell. The amazing thing and the thing I am most grateful for is that I co-slept with my children the entire time, both of whom are not vaccinated due to severe allergies, and neither contracted it! I'm wondering what you recommend for children who for various reasons are not vaccinated. Since my kids were both so closely exposed, is there a chance they've already got the immunity? Can I have their blood tested for it? I have one child with severe chronic sinusitis and asthma and I cannot imagine how she'd manage through what I experienced!

WhoopinItUp said...

P.S. In case anyone thinks my medical community was ill prepared because I live in the back country somewhere, I don't. Both my doctor and hospital are in large upscale subburbs of Los Angeles! Hopefully things have changed since.

Anonymous said...

My family went through this 2004. My sister contracted whooping cough in the last couple of weeks before giving birth to a healthy baby boy. The dr's all told her the cough she had was labor induced asthma. After visiting her and heading home I too got this really bad cough. Her son died at 18 days old. An autopsy found he died from whooping cough. Her other too children got it. Our mother and another sister also came down with it. This was reported to the cdc and our respective county health departments. Medically we were treated like pariahs, shuttled up and down back doors, given masks, the nurse at my childs pediatrian office refused to take my check. I coughed so severly that I had to be hospitalized, I lost bladder control, vomited mucus, and damaged the cartiledge between my ribs. Doing the simplist things would bring on coughing fits. This went on for six months. I NEVER want to go through this again. GET IMMUNIZED!!

Anonymous said...

I contracted whooping cough about a month ago, it started out like a bad cold for the first few days and eventually turned into this dry cough a week later, I thought I had bronchitis and didnt bother going to the doctor until a week later as usually they say they cant give you anything for it because its a virus. When I finally went to her she gave me anibiotics which didnt do much. My cough was so bad I had to sleep sitting up at night and dreaded going to bed. I coughed up yellow mucus for weeks and was so tired my rb cage and back hurt. I thought I would burst a vain in my neck the cough was so violent and forceful. It has been a month now and after the second visit to my Dr 3 weeks after I first had my cold symptoms I am on different antibiotics and am coughing less at night. I am 46 yrs old and was imunized as a child. Like many on this site I have never felt so sick in my life. I am not asthmatic do not smoke etc etc. I thought I may be susceptible to bronchitis as my mum gets it but its got nothing on this horrible disease. By the time the doctor takes your symptoms seriously or orders tests youve probably already spread it to a few or more people! I wish you all a speedy recovery and if you are in the early stages and you think you may have it push the point at the clinic and try to insist on tests early! I wish all a good recovery.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I both contracted Whooping Cough around December 2007. It's now May 2008 and I STILL am having episodes of coughing throughout the day (hacking productive cough, no whoop finally) and often at night (my wife to a much lesser degree). I broke a rib in December from coughing so hard. I went to ER and was told I have bronchitis. Not!!! Once you have the unmistakable "Whoop" it's an easy diagnosis. This has been an unbelievable orderal. Adding insult to injury, doctors don't want to diagnos this disease for what it really is (for whatever reason?). Please please get the vaccine as soon as possible. This is such a horrible disease. You don't want to get this!!!

Miss K L Richardson said...

my eleven year old has had the vaccine. But has different strain of wooping cough that seems just as bad she`s been sick and can`t get her breath seems just as bad to me any tips.Our doc say`s there`s nothing he can give her karen UK

Dr. Taraneh Razavi said...

Dear Miss Richardson

It depends on how long your daughter has had the whooping cough. If it's in the first week then antibiotics may be useful. However, since it usually takes longer than a week to diagnose this disease, the mainstay of treatment is supportive - inhalers, mucus thinners, etc. It's a very tough condition to have for a child that young and it can be quite scary. I wish you both well.

Anonymous said...

I contracted whooping cough when I was just a few months old. I haven't been vaccinated since, I'm 17, and I've had a wicked cough for about 3 weeks now. It's not quite as severe sounding as whooping cough, but there's still time for it to worsen. The only person who I know that has had a bad cough is a close friend, but it definitely wasn't whooping cough. I was wondering if it is possible to contract it again? I may visit the doctor near the end of the week if there is no change, or my symptoms become worse.

Anonymous said...

My 5 yr old daughter started this 6 weeks ago. By the 3 week I took her in to the DR. and was told she had a mild touch of Bronchitis. She was put on Zithromax and breathing treatments and she got over it in another couple weeks. Meanwhile I started about the time I took her in. It's been a month and I'm still coughing, though not as violently. My back is killing me though! I went to the DR two weeks ago and was told my lungs were fine. Now my son (7) has started the violent coughing. Everyone we know has this here in Orlando, FL. We keep being told it's a virus, but people keep coughing for weeks and months at a time. How can the medical community not see what's going on, but we can? Now my daughter is starting the cough again. Is it the same thing or something new? Can she be reexposed from me and my son?

We're doing a echinea, zinc,& slippery elm losenges. Also, lots of vitamin c and elderberry supplements, which are good for the lungs. But the best thing that has worked for us is pau d'arco tea. It thins the secrections and seems to calm the coughing fits. It's a delicious tea, especially with honey. My son woke up coughing so bad one night, I gave him half a cup and settled him down and he slept thru the night. We do 3 cups a day each and it is helping. I hope this ends soon!

Dr. Taraneh Razavi said...

If you truly contracted whooping cough as a child then you most likely have developed antibodies which should make it less likely to get whooping cough again. However, for any persistent cough it is a good idea to consult your doctor.

Anonymous said...

Well gee..........I'll take the whooping cough anytime to the 33 years I have had to witness my son seizures. He suffered adverse reactions to his childhood vaccines. He is non verbal and still in diapers. On so many anticonvulsants that anyone would gag. IT HAS BEEN HELL FOR HIM!
Yes----worry and be informed.

Anonymous said...

I had whooping cough in 2005 at least thats what the doctors think i had i was givin an antibiotic before any tests were conducted killing the virus but the symptoms still remained. after antibiotics are givin they were not able to determain exactly what virus i had. It was the sickest i have ever been in my whole life. i would not wish it on anyone. the coughing got so bad that my air ways closed off for minutes at a time there were mulituple emergancy room visits. it took 2 mounths for me to get over the worst of it but for a year after any slight cold i got would turn into a huge deal because my emun system was shot and i found out i have perminant lung damage because of the whooping cough. i was very sick. i honestly thought i was going to die.

Anonymous said...

I contracted whooping cough in November. It is now early June and I still have issues with white mucus that I have to constantly clear from my throat. I coughed violently for about three months, and on several occasions was convinced I would die...no exaggeration...it took being shuffled around from specialist to specialist to finally get an accurate diagnosis. Unless someone experiences this vicious illness, 'he' will never know what a curse this truly is. It is infuriating to read literature stating that this disease is usually 'milder' in adults.

Anonymous said...

At 4 I had whooping cough. At 35 my 3 children caught it (modified as they had been immunised)plus my husband got it. I nursed them all with not even a snifle. I assume my immunity kicked in. I am now 60 and hope I am still immune
Gillian

Dr. Taraneh Razavi said...

In general natural immunity should be long lasting. However, the only way to be certain is by checking antibody titers. Consult with your doctor to see if you are a candidate for a booster vaccine.

Anonymous said...

Dr. My 3 week old infant had whooping cough, and we don't know how she got it. No one in my family was sick. What worries me is that she never coughed, she would only turn red in her sleep. She no longer turns red now that she is 4 months old but it did effect her sleep. She can only catnap for 40 min at a time and twitches in her sleep in the morning hours every 2 min for hours! The dr doesn't know what it is, she says somehow the whooping cough affected her. Another dr says she is nervous due to immature nervous system and because I had anxiety during pregnancy and it will go away???? Do u have any advice?

Anonymous said...

My 8 yr old was just diagnosed positive for pertussis and is up to date with his immunizations. His 5th dose was when he was four years old. The vaccine is only about 80 percent effective.

Brian said...

My son (who is 12 and vaccinated) came home with a letter saying he was exposed to pertussis. As I looked it up, I realize I have had its symptoms for over 6 weeks now, 2 weeks ago, the cough hit its worst point. Though it is slowly getting better, I still have a 5 or 6 bouts a day. Is there any sense in taking antibiotics at this point? The vaccine?

Dr. Taraneh Razavi said...

If the cough is due to pertussis and it has been this long since it started then antibiotics are not recommended at this point. However, if you have had a persistent cough it would be a good idea to see your physician to rule out any other causes.
The vaccine is in general recommended.

Brian said...

Thanks, I saw the Dr. which is why I posted the question as she prescribed me zpak. But with the symptoms getting better everyday, and the worst of them behind me, It made no sense to start taking anitbiotics. I have not gotten worse, but I can see why it is called the 100 day cough. It is brutal. I am in day 60 or so. Thanks for your answer.