Patient Comments: Whooping Cough (Pertussis) - Symptoms

What symptoms did you experience with whooping cough?

A Doctor's View on Whooping Cough Symptoms

Read the Comment by Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

Though the symptoms of whooping cough may vary, in the early stages of the infection, symptoms typically resemble those of a cold -- sneezing, fever, nasal discharge, and a cough. Unlike a cold, whooping cough symptoms don't clear up in a couple of weeks; instead the symptoms get worse, particularly the coughing. Read the entire Doctor's View

Comment from: Siggy, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 30

Pertussis is apparently everywhere and adults need a booster vaccine. I was sent home from the emergency room with an antibiotic after coughing for 5 weeks but only a low grade fever. I was sent for an EGD to check for gastric reflux cough and it was negative. No doctor checked for pertussis. Have coughed with mucus for 8 weeks and will see a pulmonologist next week. I still cannot believe how sick I have been. I still cannot believe all the doctors never checked for whooping cough and I have never been offered a vaccination or been advised to get vaccinated!

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Comment from: Anne, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 15

I am female, 63 years of age and have had pertussis 3 times! I had it during the 80s and the 90s and again in 2011. Each time I broke numerous ribs. I coughed up blood and I had bleeding nose and vomiting. The one in 2011 also caused both lungs to partially collapse as was seen on x-rays. I also have auto immune disease Hashimoto's thyroiditis and Sjogren's syndrome, both of which make me susceptible to various infections. Maybe this is one of the reasons I have had pertussis 3 times.

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Comment from: Linz, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: February 18

My youngest, 3 year old, and 11 year old daughter both were diagnosed with whooping cough. I started them on Z-Pak. Two days after they are diagnosed, I started with the symptoms. My two kids are doing better, they are about 3 weeks into it. Only major coughing fits now are during the night but unfortunately I am coughing to the point that I have now pulled muscles under my ribs. It hurts to move, sneeze or cough.

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Comment from: frustrated mom, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 18

I am a mother of six kids (all boys). My 15 year old came down with a bad cough. I took him to the pediatrician where he was put on an antibiotic and a rescue inhaler due to it being diagnosed as an infection. I soon came down with the flu like symptoms and immediately went to my asthma doctor where I was told that it had to do with the bad air quality and to double up on my medication. Three weeks later and three fractured ribs, a culture was done. Results came back as being pertussis. Our whole family was put on antibiotics, even the ones with no symptoms. This is a terrible illness. Advice I would give would be to watch for the very specific cough and get to the doctor as soon as possible. Also, remember there is great power with knowledge. Keep your hands clean and avoid being around people that are sick.

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Comment from: mocha, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 28

My husband had whooping cough 15 months ago. He is very healthy, runs 32 miles a week at 64 years of age. In his words, it was the sickest he has ever been in is life. I had to take him to the emergency room twice because he lost his breath for over minute and started to turn blue. It is the scariest thing I have ever seen him experience. He learned how to breathe while coughing (breath through your nose). He had to sleep sitting up for the first month. Once asleep, the attack would wake him and he couldn't breathe. Frightening. It has been 1.6 years and he still has trouble with his lungs but nothing like it was. He is back to running and it has not affected that.

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Comment from: R2, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 30

I'm 47 and just diagnosed with whooping cough. I share my symptoms so that if you have a child and/or are an adult, you'll know to get medical attention. It does start off feeling like cold/sinus infection; however, the incessant coughing is the key thing to watch and especially at night. This thing has an alarm that seems to go off when the sun goes down and your endless night of coughing begins. You sit up to try to avoid that awful feeling in your throat and the constant need to cough. Your whole body is tight. Your head hurts constantly from the strain as well as chest & stomach muscles. You're exhausted because you can't sleep all night and finally when it lessens it's an hour before daylight. If you're coughing continuously all night long and struggling to catch your breath, go to the doctor and ask them to look up the symptoms of whooping cough to see if you match. Even if you're an adult! Save yourself and possibly the life of a child because if you have it you are highly contagious and this can indeed put a child in danger.

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Patient Comments

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Whooping Cough (Pertussis) - Experience Question: Please describe your experience with whooping cough (pertussis).
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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