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Do we have whooping cough?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this -- I was debating whether we'd get more help here or in one of the health forums -- but the mamas here have so much info on the diseases that are usually vax'd, I thought I'd start here.

I'm wondering if we have whooping cough, and asking here to see if anyone has a good link on mild cases/symptoms and treatment, or had first-hand experience. All I can drag up on google so far is scare-mongery stuff. I know I should just go to the doc and see, but I really want to read up first as we stopped vaxing after DD had a reaction to her dtap shot at age 2 months, and I want to be really informed in case I get flak for this from the pedi.

Here are symptoms... any ideas on what this could be besides mild whooping cough? All four of us -- DH, myself, DS and DD (both 3 y.o.) -- have a lingering cold/cough-type illness. It started more than 2 weeks ago with feeling "under the weather" then proceeding to all night fevers for DS and DD with the fever persisting into daytime. Throughout the fever (around 100-101F when I checked) they acted just fine and played all day, so I didn't do anything about it and just let it run its course. Then the cold symptoms set in and now been coughing at least a week. The cough is worse at night and can even be described as a "hacking" cough but no whooping sound/turning blue/vomiting. DD has been sleeping fine after an initial fit of coughing when first getting into bed/lying down. Myself as well although I cough less than she does. During the day I feel entirely normal and do not cough at all. DD coughs a little during the day but not like she does at night. Her cough seems to be getting worse.

Thanks for any help, thoughts, encouragement, or reading this far!
post #2 of 13
I had a virus go through my house back in November. DD didnt cough at all, DH coughed for a week and I hacked my brains out for 3 weeks straight. It may have been swine flu. My point is lots of things can cause a prolonged nasty cough. It could be a virus.
post #3 of 13
Originally Posted by Lydiah View Post
I had a virus go through my house back in November. DD didnt cough at all, DH coughed for a week and I hacked my brains out for 3 weeks straight. It may have been swine flu. My point is lots of things can cause a prolonged nasty cough. It could be a virus.

If it was whooping cough it would be milder for you and more severe for your twins. If at any point they start to have trouble breathing I would take them to the doctors ASAP. As mentioned there are so many other things it could be like pneumonia or bronchitis.

Grab this book "Naturally Healthy Babies and Children: A Commonsense Guide to Herbal Remedies, Nutrition" and Health by Aviva Jill Romm and William Sears.
I use it all the time, it is very honest about which diseases and at what age you should really worry about them. Good Luck.

Mama to 07/28/08 boy
post #4 of 13
Whooping cough is more severe than that, your kids would have a hard time breathing (not necessarily OMG panic, but it would be obvious). We've not had whooping cough ourselves, but my younger brother did back in the days before there was a vax for it. I remember the sound, and it is very distinctive. It is clearly more than a cough.

If anything, it sounds more like croup - is it kind of a barking cough? My son has had a croupy cough a few times, and running a humidifier helped get him past it. Just a usual virus. The reason there is no cough during the day but there is at night is simply post-nasal drip. If it's been lingering that long, it's probably time for the doc, esp if one is getting worse. It can easily turn into an ear or sinus infection.
Not a big deal, but see your doc. And if you feel like you'll get bullied because you stopped vaxing, find a different doc!

Hope you all feel better soon!
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much ladies. I feel better already. You're right, it could be any kind of virus. I got concerned because it was milder in me and DH and more severe in our kids, and I was very weirded out by the coughing being bad at night but completely absent during the day (at least for myself). I know all coughs/colds are worse in the late afternoon/night, but usually I have daytime symptoms as well, just not as bad, and this time is really weird because I literally feel "healthy"/normal during the day.

No barking cough (yet?).

DH did say he felt like he couldn't breathe and had never felt like that before in his life. And now this is reminding me that he also commented that both kids were having difficulty breathing when this first started, but I didn't notice that myself and I don't feel like it's the case now, definitely not when DD coughs next to me at night.

OK I will stop trying to self-diagnose here and get that book and make an appt with the pedi. Or maybe I should be sneaky and make an appt for myself and see what I have, as I am pretty sure we all have the same thing. I am least symptomatic though. Thanks for all your input and more is always welcome too!
post #6 of 13
I found this study pretty helpful, it's a prospective study (published in the journal Pediatrics, AAP's journal, of all places) about pertussis in West Germany... presentation really varied, even their docs, who expected to see WC because vaccination rates were quite low at the time, had a hard time diagnosing it symptomatically--they swabbed everyone with a cough >7 days to match symptoms to a positive PCR result, and didn't have great results distinguishing the cough of WC from a cough due to other causes.


It _can_ be mild, apparently, and it's missed a lot when it's mild. Whether it's WC or another virus, sodium ascorbate should help, SA has gotten my kids through a lot of illnesses.

If you make a doctor appt, read beforehand about the time period for getting a valid test result--there are issues with false negatives later on, I don't remember the time period--that's with one of the swab tests.

If you really needed to know, I'd think 2 blood tests, separated in time, looking for increasing antibody levels (I _think_ that would be IgM antibodies? check that) would work, or any antibody levels in an unvaccinated child would lean toward pertussis.
post #7 of 13
We just had whooping cough here a couple of months back. My DS's symptoms and timeline were pretty consistent. Runny nose, mild "cold-ilke" symptoms the first week, no fever for him though and then after 7 days, he started the coughing. He did whoop and did vomit after coughing episodes, so for us it was pretty obvious what it was. My DH had a prolonged cough, so he was the one who infected him.

That said, my DS came through it just fine. We started SA to bowel tolerance right after the first whoop, and we gradually reduced the dose over time. Within a few days, he was sleeping through the night again, and the whooping and puking after coughing had subsided. We never bothered with seeing a doctor. He would have just been put on antibiotics, which do nothing to alter the course of the illness (and in some cases, just prolong it) and we responsibly quarantined our DS at home.

He recovered just fine. No complications. His coughing was down to once or twice a day within three weeks.
post #8 of 13

Whooping cough

All my 5 (at the time) boys got whooping cough, it's referred to the 100 day cough, very contagious! There is A definite "whooping" sound, it is worse at night. The key to surviving is diet and herbs Eliminate all gluten and mucus forming thing from their diet, orange juice is mucus forming, milk, butter, cheese, etc. NO SUGAR!! Once they have had it they are immune. Herbs that help are, mullien, lobelia , coltsfoot, comfrey,colloidal silver, golden seal, (two weeks on 2 weeks off) oregano, olive leaf. This is short list......
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
OK last night has me pretty convinced that it is whooping cough, although I was really hoping it wasn't. DD coughed for 1.5 hours before getting the hyperventilating look/sound -- quick draws of breath -- and then throwing up. She then settled down some but to my surprise coughed another hour before falling asleep (I was surprised because from what I had read, I thought after you throw up everything is all good).

I did find the links to the Vitamin C/SA treatment from another post and bought some kids vitamin C last night. From what I can figure "bowel tolerance" is 5000mg for my kids (they weigh 30 pounds). I bought chewable vit C tablets with 250mg each... can I just feed them 20 of these spread throughout the day? They love it and think it's candy so no problem getting them to take it. SA is just vitamin C, right? Or do I have to buy the special powder...

Japonica -- thanks so much for sharing your experience, it is reassuring to know someone else had it and it wasn't that bad.

I am not that worried about managing the cough -- I feel like I have enough info on it from what I've read so far. It's managing the information that has me tied up in knots. Do I tell people that we have probably exposed that we have whooping cough? Some of them know I don't vax and don't approve of my choice and I am pretty sure I know how they will take this. Do I tell my mom who REALLY doesn't approve of us not vaxing -- on that one I'm thinking no, hide it because I will never hear the end of it. The one I'm most worried about is the 3 month old baby I held for 5 minutes two weeks ago. I really hope the baby is OK.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

Back from pedi

So that was an interesting visit... I think she was trying to tell me that it was most likely whooping cough, wink wink nudge nudge, but she was not going to write it up as such because she sensed that I did not want to put DD on antibiotics or report to the state health department etc. She prescribed:
- thyme tea
- cod liver oil
- vitamin C
- a homeopathic remedy called Bella Donna to be used during a coughing spell

She said to keep DD at home for the next week as a voluntary quarantine. She also said it was not fun to have this illness, but my kids will come out of it fine and be the stronger for having put their immune systems through the exercise.

I asked about using high dose vitamin C as treatment, but she felt it would just be pee'd back out and thus a waste of money. I'm still going to do it as it doesn't seem like it would hurt, and may very well help.

Thanks for all your help mamas! I'm gaining new insight as to why the incidence of pertussis has decreased so much. People like me don't report it, and people who've been vax'd couldn't possibly have whooping cough and get diagnosed with something else.
post #11 of 13
First of all, your ped seems a little misinformed about the use of vitamin C and toxin-mediated illnesses, but it's not surprising as most doctors don't have a clue. If it is actually pertussis, hitting the right dose with SA will make a huge difference in reduction of symptoms.


I wouldn't have believed it, if I hadn't experienced it firsthand. It was the difference between my kid coughing every few minutes all night, whooping, and throwing up, to sleeping most of the nights peacefully and no longer gasping for air.

Bowel tolerance isn't so much a calculation as it is observation. You dose with SA until they've got loose (and frequent) stools...that could be 4g, 5g, 6g...once the symptoms are under control, you can lower the dosage.

And I've only used SA. I can't imagine trying to get that many chewables into my kids. The SA is in a powder, 1/4 tsp is 1g, so it's pretty simple to add it to juice or applesauce.

As for quarantine, it depends on if you're LO is on abx or not (I saw that you didn't put her on them)...The general consensus is 1 week if on abx, 3 weeks if not (I got this from the CDC site). We did not use abx, so we kept our little one home for 3 weeks.

Finally, as for telling, would you want to know if your child had been exposed? I probably would so I could prepare. You know your friends best, so how you go about it is up to you.

Good luck!
post #12 of 13
Moving to H&H
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

What do you think?

(Sorry for posting in wrong place to start)

I'm now back to being not sure if DD has whooping cough or not. After the whooping that one night, I thought it had to be, but it's not recurred again. In fact, she just coughed one more night and that was it. Could the vitamin C have worked that fast, and worked even if I didn't do it to bowel tolerance? (I think they probably took in around 2.5g each for 2 days, then maybe 1.5g for 1 day and then just 0.5g per day after that as the symptoms were largely gone.)

Japonica, thanks again for the help and info. It has been very hard to find any information about the actual disease, "mild" cases and things like quarantine info. I made some general inquiries as to the health of the baby we saw over 2 weeks ago and she is fine (thank goodness).

For myself I continue to wonder if I've had pertussis before (about a year ago) and if I somehow got it again (or never got rid of it to begin with??). I remember reading something when I was doing my vax research about how pertussis was more prevalent in certain communities. I've felt like I have something persistently stuck in my throat for pretty much the last year and had 2-3 months of hacking coughs at night a year ago.
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