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Pertussis (whooping Cough)


lthomas521
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I just got an e-mail from a friend I haven't heard from in a few years. He has been home sick for several weeks with a diagnosis of pertussis (whooping cough). He has been sick since early October. He can't sleep at night because of the horrible paroxysms of coughing and also because of urticaria (hives). He can't even talk, because that triggers coughing spells. I saw somewhere that IgE antibodies to pertussis can cause histamine release, especially in someone who already has allergy problems, so that might explain the urticaria. I also wonder whether cough medicine is making the urticaria worse, because codeine and dextromethorphan both tend to cause histamine release. He's also having weird autonomic effects (e.g., he can't sweat). Whether it's from the disease, or from whatever medications he's on, I don't know.

He was healthy until all this started. If pertussis can disable a healthy person for several months, I can't begin to imagine what it would do to one of us, or to someone with asthma. I know that pertussis is often lethal in infants and may be a cause of death in some cases of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

You get a pertussis booster when you get your "tetanus shot" booster. You may want to ask about a booster the next time you have a doctor's appointment.

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How frequently should it be done? I believe I had a booster in 1990--that was awhile ago!!

It seems that whooping cough is making a bit of a comeback. Two adult friends of mine have had it (one was someone at work) in the past two years.

I get a little aggravated with people who refuse to vaccinate their children -- I guess they have no understanding of what life was like before these vaccinations--child mortality and suffering was pretty high. My understanding is that if you don't have a certain percentage of the population vaccinated, these bad diseases can get started again--and not everyone is fully protected even if vaccinated.

Katherine

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hi,

just thought i'd say that i had whoopng cough when i wa four and my litle sister had it at the same time she was one, we had it over christmas and kerry was hospitalised. most of my hair fell out and i still have scarred lungs from it, that's how serious it is. Mum says it was the worst christmas ever, and my sister almost died. the problem was that that year the vaccine had caused brain damage in some children, so my mum opted out o us having it. we were lucky it wasn't a killer strain that year.

becks x x x

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My husband and kids all had a recent case of whooping cough. Somehow, I seem to have escaped it. My husband's doctor prescribed an assortment of asthma meds, which did nothing. When the kids started coughing too, their doctor told us what it was. The pediatrician's office has a bunch of signs up about a whooping cough epidemic.

A co-worker's daughter spent a while in the hospital before someone figured out what the problem really was.

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Whooping Cough is no fun! Last winter my 2 1/2 month old son caught whooping cough. We do immunizations, but at 2 months old he had only had the first shot in a series of 4. So he was not fully immunized yet. The doctor put him on Zithromax, which killed the bacteria, but the cough still lingered for a long time and made sleeping and breathing very hard for the little baby. It is a miracle that he is still alive today.

If you have already had whooping cough then you should now be immune to it. But, if you've been immunized, the immunization does wear off eventually. A strong antiobiotic helps a lot and keeps pertussis from getting worse, but the best prevention is immunization and booster shots.

For a healthy older child/adult many times whooping cough isn't too bad to deal with. But for the sake of babies and those who are already sick, immunizations are a huge help.

If anyone wants further information on Pertussis (Whooping Cough) here are two pages of info from the State of Alaska.

Pertussis Fact Sheet:

http://www.epi.hss.state.ak.us/id/dod/pert...isFactsheet.pdf

More info on Pertussis:

http://www.epi.alaska.gov/bulletins/docs/b2005_20.pdf

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P.S.

I've just been looking into shots a little more online. I remember the nurse telling us that there aren't boosters for Pertussis once you're older. I'm not sure if this is the case all over the US or not (mandatory shots vary from state to state). Children get the DTaP shot. And then the booster at the age of 4-6. But the booster for teenagers and adults is just the DT. It doesn't have a pertussis booster in it.

http://www.healthline.com/adamcontent/tetanus-vaccine

So most adults and teenagers can contract pertussis. Be careful if you're around someone who has a barking cough!

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In October, 2006, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to recommend a combined form of diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus for adults in the US.

http://www.cdc.gov/nip/vaccine/tdap/tdap_adult_recs.pdf

Ironically, there actually was some risk with an older form of the pertussis vaccine, which has since been replaced. However, even then the risks of death and illness were far higher among nonvaccinated people.

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I had whooping cough as a child in Britain. I guess they did not vaccinate against it then, although I seem to remember getting vaccinated for just about everything else.

My question is, if I've had it, do I have immunity now? Or is it likely to get me again? Do I need to get vaccinated? I remember actually feeling not to bad a child when I had it, but I certainly don't want it given my current state of health.

India

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India,

If you have had whooping cough in the past you are supposed to be immune to it. Supposed to be. Kind of like chicken pox - once you've had it you shouldn't get it again. But strange things happen.

lthomas521 posted a link to an article that recommends getting a booster even if you have already had whooping cough.

Talk to your doctor and see what he says would be best for you.

Rachel

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If you've had whooping cough in the past, you probably won't get the severe clinical syndrome again. But you can catch the infection again, have minimal or no symptoms, and pass it on to others.

Personally, I feel that the minimal risk that we incur when we get our vaccinations is our duty to humanity. Some people can't or shouldn't be vaccinated, and others don't mount an immune response when they do get vaccinated. So the rest of us, by contributing to "herd immunity," can help protect them.

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