Patient Comments: Whooping Cough (Pertussis) - Experience

Please describe your experience with whooping cough (pertussis).

Comment from: 5 weeks n hating it, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: October 05

I had no idea that an Adult could get "Whooping Cough", thinking it was a child's disease, hence why children get vaccinated. After what I call an intense but short cold/flu like experience, I started to cough in the first week, that turned into extreme fits to the point where I nearly blacked out! Each inhale of breath had this weird noise. My doctor had no idea, in fact it is so surprising to find out that the majority of "whooping cough" cases are misdiagnosed by doctors! I searched online, and found a site by a UK Doctor that specializes in Whooping Cough (Pertussis). There were some recordings on their and to my amazement they sounded exactly like me... No Doctor has ever told me that I need to be reinoculated for Whooping cough, had I known that I would have made sure. It is a dreadful disease, that can make one tense and on tender hooks all the time. The worst thing is that you never know when it will strike! On several occasions I have had bouts where I vomit with no control over the reflex, so I can be anywhere cough and just vomit. Can you imagine how embarrassing that when just walking down the street. I am now in week 4 or 5 of the disease, and my bouts are sitting around 5 to 10 times a day. Where they were around 15 to 25 times a day at the height of the disease. First thing in the morning I will have 2 to 3 severe bouts. Then 2 or 3 through the day a couple in the evening and I will have 4 at night that wake me up violently. I have an excessive amounts of saliva and clear looking phlegm that can build up so quickly. Generally speaking I am well, apart from being annoyed at having a disease that could have been easily prevented. As I have read there does not seem to be a lot I can do to relieve this. There are occasions that I can semi-control the fit, if I am quick enough to catch the first spasm. I can quickly exhale along a "silent" coughing spasm to happen, then I slowly draw air through the nose. This is extremely hard and sometimes the bodies reflex will automatically gag for air, and then it's back to the sever bout and "salty the sea lion" cough. I am still searching for a way to relive the symptoms. However I can say; Avoid dairy products (as these can line the throat, and cause mucous); Avoid any food that lines the throat such as chocolate, or items that are harsh and scratch the throat for instance toast, or crisp breads. I have found that these can almost instantly cause a feeling of wanting to cough. Keep hydrated, avoid air conditioning as they certainly causes the throat to dry out really quickly especially at night. Pray that more Doctors are wiser to this disease!

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Comment from: Debbie, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 05

My daughter who is 15 and myself have been experiencing all of the classic symtoms of whooping cough. My daughter is in her 6th week with it. I am only in my 3rd. She has been to the doctor twice and put on an antibotic. Unfortunatley it was not one that was effective for the whooping cough. We have both had severe bouts of coughing and not being able to catch our breath. There has also been vomiting. I have told my doctor that I truely believe that we have whooping cough but they say that it is too rare and it is probably not possible. It makes me feel dumb for asking to be tested. It is supposed to be reported to the health department and if I can keep one person from getting it, then I will feel like I have done a little something to help.

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Comment from: stevens mummy, 0-2 Male (Patient) Published: July 31

My 6 week old son is in intensive care at the moment with whooping cough. I went to the doctors in the beginning with my son having a persistent cough and mucus coming up I was told it was a cold, 2 days later my son became worse and started going blue so I took him to hospital to get some answers yet again I was fobbed off with its a cold but he does have a lot of mucus on his chest but with it was clear it is not an infection. My son's condition worsened so I yet again went to the doctors where my son had a bad coughing fit, so I was finally referred to hospital for treatment but on the way my son totally stopped breathing and turned blue. When we got to hospital the consultant told me we had gone just in time as my sons lungs were that heavy due to all the mucus he couldn't breath for himself, my son had 2 respiratory arrests while at hospital so was transferred to another hospital to intensive care were he is currently under going treatment for whooping cough. I was so scared I was going to loose him and I feel if the doctors had listened to me at the start I wouldn't be sitting here now waiting for my son to recover and come off his ventilator.

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Comment from: nicki, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 24

I have had whooping cough for nearly five weeks now. The symptoms are a little less severe, yet still quite scary. As I cough, I feel as if my body is being electrocuted, and my head is about to explode. It is frightening because you simply cannot get a breath in. Nights are terrible with more frequent and severe bouts. I asked my doctor what I can do to rebuild my immune system. He simply said that it takes time. The healing process is very slow.

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Comment from: Peppa71, 0-2 Female (Caregiver) Published: June 05

I am a mother of a newborn baby who suffered with pertussis when she was a week old. It was horrible to watch my little one suffer like that, coughing until she turned blue in color due to the disease constricting her oxygen intake. It's like when you tie a rubber band around your finger, and no oxygen goes through and the finger turns blue; well, imagine this feeling taking over your whole body. We were both admitted in hospital and stayed for 3 weeks until she was discharged with some potent medications. When you see these symptoms, rush to get medical help.

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Whooping Cough (Pertussis) - Symptoms Question: What symptoms did you experience with whooping cough?
Whooping Cough (Pertussis) - Vaccine Question: Did your child receive the whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine? If not, why? If yes, were there any side effects?
Whooping Cough (Pertussis) - Treatment Question: What kinds of treatment, including medication, were used for your child's whooping cough (pertussis)?

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