I am not surprised after reading this NPR article, that the doc sent us away 9 days ago with the prognosis of “allergies”. Doctors are not looking for pertussis. Apparently there are a number of doctors these days who are not even being educated to recognize whooping cough.
We saw the doc as soon as we suspected the kids might have it, (a single online article, under the search of ‘pertussis’, led us to believe there was a good chance we had it.) Our appointment was during the middle of the day. The kids did a considerable amount of coughing during the visit but we were refused a pertussis test because the coughing fits were determined “not strong enough.” Doc also mentioned that without the signature “whoop” which he wasn’t hearing, it couldn’t possibly be pertusiss. Dr. Google had told us otherwise, that pertussis strikes hardest at night, as with our kids. When we tried to explain this, the doc brought up the lack of “whoop”. We had also read that in some cases of pertussis the whoop is not evident. Obviously the doctor was a little perturbed by all our reading antics. He advised that we treat our 3 year old and 5 month old, with Dimetapp cough syrup. We kindly thanked him and ran for the door.
My husband and I went home and grabbed pertussis by the you-know-whats’, which means that we bounced crying, coughing, babies on our hips, while reading everything that we could find on pertussis. If you vaccinate, if you don’t vaccinate, you are still at risk for contracting pertussis. There is no treatment for pertussis. Western medicine will suggest you update your DTP vax, which will do nothing for your current situation. They will offer you Zithromax, an antibiotic. This will only protect others from catching pertussis from you, in the meantime, it will wreck havoc on the good bacteria in your gut, leaving you with a lowered immune system. And come to find out, your immune system is the only thing that is going to help you get through this. If you are one who feels completely helpless when it comes to any kind of illness, you might wind up going to the ER at Valley Children’s. But unless your kid is experiencing asphyxiation and is ready to have their breathing tubes vacuumed, then you are on your own, according to big pharma.
This is how pertussis begins; our kids had experienced flu like symptoms, in stages, during the first 2 weeks of February. I assumed after it cleared that we were okay. But this is the first phase of pertussis, when you think you can finally leave the house to attend a family get-together at grandma’s, and instead silently infect anyone vulnerable and within reach. Then the cough came, which is the 2nd phase. Haven first, coughing so strong at night that she threw up. Soon after, Bowie and Ozlynn were doing the same. We eat a pretty nutritious diet, so I can only assume that this is what helped Haven get by. But Bo and Ozlynn just kept getting worse. I couldn’t understand by the 2nd week why things weren’t clearing up. Thankfully someone with enough wits (Jules) finally suggested we might have whooping cough.
After the doc visit, I went into “don’t F with mama” mode (pardon my !@#$) and ran to mothering.com where one search lead me to a bounty of information. In the case of pertussis, if the drug company can’t patent it, then it isn’t an option. It makes sense under those circumstances that whooping cough is deemed so frightening. But now that I am giving my children sodium ascorbate, fish oil and riboflavonoids, I can see that their coughing is becoming productive. Never have I been so happy to see the long, stringy mucous being expelled from their mouths in the middle of the night. Sometimes they barf, sometimes they even “whoop” and it sucks to see them suffer, but moments later they are recovering. We are taking it one night at a time, and of course, learning as we go. But there is no reason why we should shudder alone in the name of pertussis anymore.
In post thought of all this, I determined that John and I did not catch pertussis for one of two reasons. It’s possible that the DTP vax my husband was given 2 years ago for a tick bite served to protect him. I am unvaccinated, so I can only imagine that over my 31 years of life, it’s likely that I already had pertussis (and only thought it was a really heinous cough) and got immunity that way.