I Have Whooping Cough/Pertussis

Hi Everyone,

I'm a (usually) healthy, fit 34 year old female.  I live in Brisbane, Qld, Australia.  I exercise regularly - at least 4 times a week.  Running, cycling  or swimming.

My first symptoms

I had a couple of days of feeling exhausted. 

Followed by: dry coughing spells/then hours of coughing fits, fever and exhaustion.

My initial doctors visits

I visited my GP the day after the dry coughs started, I was diagnosed with a flu/bronchitis, and prescribed anit-biotics.

Then I visited the emergency room in the middle of the night because I was having trouble breathing after a 2 hour coughing fit, I just couldn't stop coughing.  My breathing was troubling me too, and I was exhausted.  They took a chest x-ray, I think to check for pnemonia (it was clear).  I was already taking anitbiotics, so they suggested I buy a steam vaporiser and sent me home.

Whooping Cough

I had woken up early hours of the morning with a cough, then bam!!!!  I couldn't breathe.  Panic....I'm banging on the walls to get my new husbands attention.  My mind was racing, but I can still remember clearly what I was telling myself ..... 'This is it!  I'm dying'  then whoop ...... I could barely, barely suck air into a small pinprick sized gap in my throat, 'Oh no, what's happening?!?', I don't recall if my husband said anything, there was no way I could answer him anyhow.  Then I was calm, and I could breathe again, barely,  and I could barely talk.  My husband got me a ventolin, one I'd bought just that afternoon.  We discussed going to a hospital, but didn't know if one was near-by, we were on our honeymoon.  After a while I told him to go back to bed, I was exhausted.  

A few hours later, while browsing a local arts and crafts market I had another cough with the strange throat swelling feeling and I gasped for as much air as I could get into that pinprick sized breathing space in my throat.  I wasn't as panicked as before though, although I didn't know what was happening, it's like I knew it would pass.  But I sure did scare some people, the noise is loud, and scary.

I went to the emergency room at the local hospital - there I had 2 more throat swelling coughing fits - they told me that I had spasisms and gave me 2 steroid tablets.  I was still totally unaware of what that meant and that I had whooping cough - they never actually said the words 'whooping cough' to me.

Days of this went by, when I got home from my honeymoon I went to my regular GP I asked him what was wrong with me - by this stage I was scared and absolutely exhausted.

He tested me for whooping cough/pertussis, by a blood test  - it was positive.  I was told that this bacteria can last in my system for 3 months.

What helps me

 Vick Steam Vaporiser  (because my airways are so sensitive - the Eucalyptus and Peppermint soothes my airways & the steam helps get the mucus & phlegm off my chest)

Sleeping upright (in my recliner during the worst part - now propped up in bed) - helps get the mucus up off my chest

Baths morning and night (gets phlegm off my chest)

Do NOT drink or eat anything too cold (I find it inflames my throat and produces heaps of mucus)

Eat - keep your strength up

Having someone tell you to 'Relax' during a spasism - in a calm even tone - it helps a LOT!!!  (my boss told me 'breathe', please don't use the word 'breathe', it's frustrating to hear that when you are gasping for air - I feel like choking them and telling them to 'breathe', lol *jokes I swear*).

Time Line

Days 1-5

feeling of lethargy - no energy to do anything and I'm usually very active.

Days 6-17

dry cough/fever/phlegmn (clear)

Days 18-35

days of the typical whooping cough - cough followed by a spasism (30-60 seconds), vomiting.  Am having 4 to 5 spasisms a day.  Totally random times, but I'm usually the worst at night/early morning.  I usually have another around breakfast time too.  But I've had them at all different times of the day.

absolute exhaustion - dehydration - lot of mucus (clear) production.  The worst of the attacks would be when I would have 2 or 3 spasims one after the other, left me totally spent, I was done, I'd spend days on the couch, exhausted after those spasims.

Days 36-42

I have gone back to work part time - my doctor says I'm no longer as highly contagious.  My cough has changed, I have a bellowing cough (w/green phlegmn).

I'm working 4 hour days, then I go home and have my nanna naps, I'm driving to work so I don't catch public transport with people who may have colds and flu's as I'm told I'm susceptible to picking up a secondary infection, which can make the whooping spasisms come back (my worst fear).

Day 43 - I have a burning sensation in my chest, like a really bad heartburn.  Then I have a fever.  Then an excruiating abdominal pains.  I did have Indian for dinner the night before because I'd been feeling ok and I was hungry I didn't think of the implications.  I visit my GP but he just gives me an injection for gastro.  It doesn't do anything but make me not want to throw up.   I suspect the heartburn and gut pain is not just from the Indian dinner but also all the antibiotics I've been taking have made my digestive system sick.

Days 44-49 - I sleep on and off for days, I actually sleep ALL day on day 44, it's the only thing that I can get relief from from the pain - and I'm utterly exhausted.

Headaches, backaches, stomach aches .. yuck.  I go back to my doctor and insist I stop taking antibiotics, he agrees.

Days 50-51

I'm exhausted - I haven't had a spasism in 8 days, but I can't shake this feeling of tiredness, weak, dizzy and nauseated.

I visit a Naturopath.  He makes a lot of sense (and dollars, haha), he gives me:

* some liquid stuff for my lungs (to take with breakfast)

* some liquid stuff for my digestive system (which I take at dinner time)


* some tablets to boost my immune system (so I'm no so suseptible to picking up other contagious ailments - luckily :-)  because I feel too weak to fight anything else off.

Days 52-54 - ok - 1 spasim - no where near as intense as before.

Day 55 - (06 April 2009)

Back to 6 hour days at work.

no stomach cramps, no bellowing cough, no headaches, no aches or pains, most of all I don't feel exhausted. 

I have some coughing.  Nothing like before though.

I think I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel :-)

Days 56-60 (Sat 11 April 2009)

Feeling better, I've had minimal coughing (just once in a while).  I'm sleeping normally (back in my own bed - not propped up on pillows).

I'm even walking for exercise again.  I walked 3 km yesterday, and 2 km today.  Feeling good.

Days 61-63

Easter weekend.  I did a 3km walk.  

Went for a 10km bike ride today -  I feel good.

Days 64-onwards

I'm exhasuted, exercise every other day, walking like a 99 year old woman.  Have back pain too.

Sunday April 26th 2009

I've been feeling good for about a week now.  Still not back into exertion during physical activites, but I can go for brisk walks and slow bike rides.  Feeling soooo much better.  Promise never to take health for granted again! :-)

Monday 27th April - bike ride (slowly) - to and from work (1 hour altogether), feel good!!!


p.s.  feel free to ask any questions.

p.p.s.  I've never known anyone to have whooping cough, so I'm writing this to share my experience because everything I found on the internet was to do with the clinical side - not the actual experience.

UPDATE:  21 JUNE 2009

I've been picking up every cold going around the office - my doctor said that would happen & that my immune system would be low this winter.  So I'm still taking immunity boosting liquids in the morning (Olive Leaf extract - peppermint flavoured).

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38 Responses Mar 5, 2009

Thank you for sharing this. I currently have whooping cough and feel like I'm a bit nuts and everybody thinks I'm crazy. I'm at week 5. I'm still working full time but exhausted all the time. I had one night where I woke up choking (I live alone) thankfully I made myself calm down and got through it. Even though it's horrifying to think I'm only half way through it it's comforting to know I'm not making this up and your detailed description has been a big help for me 😊

Thanks for posting.
Well it's 2015 Im a 40 y.old female who was vaccinated around July for whooping cough as my sister had her second child. My boss also told me she had the 'hundred day cough' which I didnt stay clear of and would often visit her office.
So I had what I thought was thr true flu. Weak tired basically lethargic out of breathe - nothing un towards.
I visited the doctor 2 weeks later ans was given amoxil (sp) antibiotics. Between these visits my cough was really developing but no whoop sound just intense bouts where my head hurt, left side of abdomen, nearly wetting my pants& sore hemorrhoid (embarrassing). After I finished my antibiotics and felt worse I went back to dr. I was given more antibiotics this time 1 a day. Producing soo much thick green phelm. Finished these week later back. Mentioned to hef my husband said I sound like a seal. She referred me to get a chest xray blood test and have these massive antibiotics. Well 2 days later shw phns me informing me I have a strain of whooping cough and no need to go back unless I get worse. Its been 2 weeks now. I feel better. Out of breathe yes. Coughing still not as much of severe but I still do. Thick green phelm yep. Very dry mouth in the morning. Definitely not even 75%. I also think I have picked up a virus. Blowing my nose on stop with lots of clear and green snot.
I might stop know b4 I give too much information . Hahaha

thanks so much for posting this...i too was diagnosed with whooping cough in June? really never gave me an actual diagnosis, and it cost about 8,500 bucks with GP and emergency room visits as you did....my symptoms and recovery mirror your posts...one day I'm on top of the world, the next i feel like I'm having a heart attack and have about a minute left on earth (yesterday playing golf)....we are experiencing a multitude of forest fires in and around our area, and the smoke is not helping with breathing.....will be so glad when this is over....as you said i will not take my health for granted again....im a 66 yo male who has been vaccinated as recently as April of this year with a booster, and still got this stuff....i can see how is can kill babies and our elderly (me included) thankfully i have no other serious illnesses i.e. COPD etc.....take care and hang in there....

I feel ur pain, I was positive for whooping cough in May this year. 4 months on still feel unwell & cough all the time. Also I had been vaccinated 5 yrs ago as my niece was pregnant & wanted to make sure we could not give the precious baby this horrific disease. Can't wait to feel well & not have coughing fits. I too have been having naturopathic. Hopefully we are on the road to recovery. It's a dreadful disease. I sometimes feel I will never get over it. So all we can do is hang in there. All the best to you. Wanted to share so u didn't feel like u were going through this alone.

I am so glad that sharing has helped you. Sometimes I feel unless people have been through this it is impossible to explain the frustration we feel. Please keep me updated with ur progress.

I also live in Queensland

Wow! I just read your post. I got diagnosed with Whooping cough almost 8 months ago, i have been getting every chest infection going round since! I am done! Started getting coughing fits again a few days ago. Just like you described. I feel hot and flustered after. The chocking feeling is what really gets me, I even had to pull over today!

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your experience. My son has tested positive for pertussis as well. Today is day 60 and he is miserable still.
This started early September when this relentless cough came out of nowhere. We went to urgent care, where they prescribed antibiotics, inhalers, gave him breathing treatments and said it was a bad case of bronchitis.
Cough didn't let up, so a week later we go to our primary care physician, who diagnosed bronchitis as well and sent us home. We returned a few days later, a bit less patient and scared, because his symptoms were only getting worse.
Our doc at this point, sends us to an infectious disease specialist who takes blood, but also tells us this is bronchitis and sends us home. Mind you, despite all the bronchitis explanations, my son has not returned to school since this started... About 3 weeks out at this point.
26 days after visiting this specialist, I receive a phone call from the health department telling me my son tested positive for pertussis, and continues interviewing me to gather as much info possible for their records. The doctor never called. Actually, after speaking with the health department, I called this specialist and he suddenly was concerned and defensive, saying no one should have called me with these results.. I refused to return to him and requested all of my sons info to be returned to the referring physician, our primary care.
Then we got into a pulminologist at the children's hospital, where they took blood again and my son was examined. Right away, based on present symptoms alone, the doc suspected pertussis. 5 days later, blood samples came in and once again... Positive for pertussis.
Just hearing an explanation is a relief. My son is still miserable, but at least we know why.
My son is 14 and current on all vaccines. Three separate facilities (one being a so-called infectious disease specialist) missed this diagnosis AND recommended my son to return to school while he was (we know now) highly contagious. The doctors need to be educated because THEY are why pertussis is spreading!

Thanks for sharing. I hope your son is fully recovered.

Doctors, 'medical experts' and news reporters are all responsible. Blaming 'antivaxers' for the epidemic when the true problem is that the vaccine no longer works.

And the sad fact is parents (and doctors) think their children are safe as long as they get the vaccine and that newborns can be held and kissed by close friends as long as the friends have been vaccinated.

But the vaccine is not working for pertactin-negative strains. 19 kids that were fully up to date with their pertussis shots tested positive for whooping cough in Utah this month. News reports don't often mention the fact that many people who are vaccinated get it.

I was vaccinated in November and ended up with whooping cough in December. Experiencing this illness first hand, allows me to understand why babies can die from it.

I'm sick of news reports saying it is a 'vaccine preventable disease.' It is not. It once was. Until the vaccine is updated, it is not vaccine preventable.

It's time to get the word out that doctors need to start testing for this, even if it is expensive to test then they will truly understand the scale of this epidemic.

Hey did you have a bubbling sensation in your chest when you had it, youshaly after when you coughfed and laying down?

So I had the same bad experience over 10 years ago. I find now at 24 that if I cough/choke a little on a drink or something, that my throat does the same thing as when I had whooping cough and I have to breathe through my nose in order to get air in. I'm not sure if this could be a long-term effect... Has anyone else had this problem?

I only had it 3-1/2 months ago, but I've felt a lump in my throat for a couple months after an especially rough coughing spell. I went to an ENT and was told that I have enlarged tonsils. He used a flexible camera through my nose to look down my throat. The doctor couldn't tell if it was because of the illness or if I've always had large tonsils. (I didn't have a lump before this illness). I yawn to stretch out the tissue in my throat and it helps immensely. It has gone away, but if I clear my throat too much or cough, the tissue seems to swell quickly and then I've got the lump again. But I don't have a problem with breathing. Maybe an ENT could help you figure it out.

I know it's been a while since this happened but thank you for sharing your experience!
I've been having whooping cough for 32 days, it's killing me!
I've also chronic late stage lyme disease and it doesn't help.

It's great to find someone, writing about this, cause I could find no information on adults with whooping cough, plus the fact that doctors don't think about it (I had to ask my doctor to order the test for me cause he had no clue of what was going on, I was misdiagnosed with asthma for three weeks, saw a pneumologist too and didn't have a clue either)

Hope you're doing better now.


Really loved to read this... I'm actually "going crazy" here in Portugal! I believe I have pertussis, the symptoms are getting better. Funny that I put vics vapor rub on my chest for the first time last night and I slept much better ;)Don't know why but I'm obsessed with this... I want someone to beleive me and have me tested!!! My husband tells me to just let it go (since I'm getting better) but I really think people should be aware of it. I'm a teacher and I know of 3 other teachers that had the same coughing trouble (especially at night). I'm the only one that seems to be worried about all this. Thinking of giving up :(

It's very frustrating. I was vaccinated a couple months before I got it. The vaccine is not working well anymore and few are admitting it. The vaccine wiped out the pertactin positive strains and now we've got an epidemic of the pertactin negative strains. They are resistant to the vaccine. It is expensive to test for pertussis and doctors for some reason do not believe patients. Like one doctor said, you must video tape the coughing spell and take it to your doctor's office for them to believe you. Such a terrible illness. I sat many nights leaning over a pot of steam because of the thick epoxy-like mucus that made me cough so hard I thought I wouldn't survive. Vics vapor rub on chest and under nose, mucinex, saline spray and steam are the only things that helped. Prescription cough meds were useless even the ones with codeine. I took antibiotics to make sure I wasn't contagious, but for me it was caught too late.

Oh my. I am 17 and am pretty convinced that I have whooping cough. I had a coughing fit and my throat closed for about 2 minutes and felt my self loosing consciousness. I gagged myself and threw up which dislodged some mucus and I could breathe. It was definitely scarring and I am very glad I was able to find someone with a similar experience. It makes me feel less scared however I am very frightened about the no breathing part. I have asthma however this was my first non-asthmatic breathing problem ever in my life. Is it possible that I could pass out from this? Would you think that I would be able to breathe normal after I passed out?

Oh that sounds awful. I'm asthmatic and whooping cough is one of the things I worry about, along with pneumonia. How are you doing now!

Your experience is very similar to mine. It took weeks to get the correct diagnosis: Reactive airway, walking pneumonia, etc... The longer your whooping cough goes without antibiotics the worse your case is. The inability to breathe and thinking I am going to die was the scariest part of the illness, and quite frankly, still can be very scary. Now I know that the tiny pin-***** of air will eventually come, and I have learned to relax as it will happen quicker. I have been working, as once you've had 5 days of antibiotics you are no longer contagious. I am a teacher, so I have many coughing fits followed by the inability to speak for 10 minutes which is frustrating when you are in the middle of a lesson. I have found that bland foods are helpful, but anything with spice and alcohol sends me into a coughing fit. Getting rest is hard because of the coughing, but taking naps and melatonin before bed has helped as I feel better on the days I've had better rest. I used to work out 4 days a week but I haven't exercised more than a walk since December 4th and couldn't even consider doing so. I have thrown out my back more times than I can count from coughing, I have a constant headache, and my lungs feel like someone has a blow torch on them at all times. Your story does let me know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel as it is such a long illness. I have been telling everyone I know to make sure they get their booster and to vaccinate their children.

This was very useful. My daugter seems to have it and the symptoms are very similar. The caughing episodes are very difficult to handle since she can hardly breathe. Codeine seems to be helping a lot!

Thanks a lot!
Had the same suffocating cough early in the morning (first time).Your story will be helpful during my visit at the GP this afternoon.
Luc Jacobs

I'm not sure when this was posted, but my name is Briana and I live in Texas, and guess what-- I have the whooping cough. Ive had it for at least 3 months now, and I'm pregnant, lowering my immune system even more. Although Ive started to improve, some days are bad. Today especially is what made me look up this article, is a sharp knife-like pain in my right lung--very painful when i cough or sneeze. So I'm worried. I haven't seen too many people talk about it but that is one of the worst parts of whooping cough, besides the violent vomiting and accidentally peeing my pants.

Oh my God, I'm so tired, but If I sleep, I know I'll wake up gasping for air.
Then the panic & scrambling for the puffer when the coughing fits start.
Finally my sides (ribs) stop hurting.
I'm on Month #2.
This is so embarrassing when I really start coughing.
Luckily, vomiting has been confined to 2 days a week and at home.
People think I'm crazy, but I know this is Pertussis.

I am a 59 yr old female. I had whooping cough for about 3 months before I was diagosed. I had been hospitalized with pneumonia, which other doctors said was not there. Finally, at the end of the 3rd month blood tests showed pertussis AND mono. At the end of month 4 now, I haven't had a cough for about 3-4 weeks and outside of the 1 week after I was hospitalized I continued working 35 hours a week, which has been very difficult. I have several times a day my eyes get so heavy I can hardly stay awake, like a person gets when they have a bad flu. I walk for a few minuts and snack on fruit & vegetables (whole foods seem to boost my energy, even tho that is not what I want to eat) then the tiredness passes and I continue working. I am wondering how long this tiredness will last. I am starting to think I have been thrust into old age. . ..

I wish I had found this several months ago. I originally thought it was a chest infection, continued on as am at uni and was on placement. Three weeks of this dreadful cough that was resulting in my vomiting and my throat bleeding, I received a call to inform me my field educator had whooping cough and I sounded worse than her.

Walked out of uni midway through class (i had been dozing with my head on the desk as it was), got a doctors appointment. He was horrified I had been working and going to uni while being so ill, and informed me it was without doubt whooping cough.

100 day cough is accurate, though here I am five or so months on and still easily tired. I am also showing signs of inflammation and an inflamed immune system.

I take the days as they come, and do my best to ensure good amounts of rest, and avoidance of colds, flu and viruses as the doctor warned me it could take awhile to recover...

My main complaint is still having fatigue and catching most things, but the doctor said I was the worse case he had seen. We worked at its worst I managed three hours sleep over five days, and that was in thirty minute intervals.

It does improve, so do not give up

I have WC for about 60 days now. I feel sooo bad (tired, back pain, joints pain, vomiting in the morning.) I’ve picked a cold from the office a week ago, went to doctor but he wanted to give me another antibiotic, I didn’t do it though, I have enough. I didn’t have any time of work because they can’t understand that I can be good on some days and so fatigued on others. I need more sleep in the morning. I’ve noticed that hot weather makes me very weak as well. I was very active before WC and it is so frustrating that simple walk up the stairs is difficult now. I’m depressed as well and I don’t know if its WC or the break up I had with my boyfriend just before contracting it. Thank you Pertussis, you are lovely bacteria Stay strong everyone and take care.

I am driving every one mad with my cough I just need one simple step so my cough goes by tomorrow ps:(I have school tomorrow so I need it to go)

I have just read your experience and I can totally identify with you. I am at the end of week four now and I am still totally exhausted from no sleep and coughing followed by wrenching and being sick. I sort help from a homeopath about three days ago and although the day after I didn't feel much better the last 48 hours have seen a great improvement. The coughing has decreased ALOT, and although it has not disappeared it has allowed me a rest. I'm still waking up night coughing but not the scary episodes of sickness and gasping for breath and waking in a night sweat. I think your story provided me with reassurance I wasn't over reacting and making a big deal about it. So thank you. I hope you are fighting fit again now.

I am just recovering from WC thought it was a bug from air conditining on flight home from holiday, tickly throat, laryngitis, low grade fever, went to gp who gave penicillin, no better one week later, choking, suffocating cough and mucus build up, worse at night, have seen gp every week, only after 4 weeks and googling my symotoms did i ask gp if it could be WC, he said yes he rather thought i did havepertussis, chest xray clear, told me it was not worth doing a blood test.as my symptoms were obviously WC, weeks of coughing, exhausting, feeling u and down, one day feeling ok, next feeling dreadful and wiped out, i am now 7 weeks in, cough is slowly improving, but have sore throat ALL the time, last week started bringing up green phlegm, diagnosed with chest infection on top as immunity low!, due to go back to work next week, but dont know.how i will manage! Been resting lots, really find dairy products make mucus worse! So am avoiding , good luck to fellow sufferers, you have my sympathy, this is a vile disease x

What a relief to stumble across this forum! I am currently day 22 of this awful illness, this was preceded by 5 days of a sore throat, chest, runny nose and sneezing. I work in health care and a colleague said within two days of the cough developing that it didn't sound right and she had heard Whooping Cough was in the community. I visited the GP on Day 3 of the cough, she listened to my suspected diagnosis of Pertussis (Whooping Cough) prescribed Clarithromycin 500mg twice a day and took nasal swabs. At this point I was experiencing severe fits of a dry cough which would last around 10 minutes in 2-3 separate bouts. I slept fitfully in a sitting up position. One of the other side effects of these fits was urinary incontinence, I was wearing protection and still requiring 2-3 clothes changes day and night, upsetting, confidence bashing and downright undignified! Day 13 - I visited the GP again regarding management and advise regarding work, where she issued me a two week certificate and prescribed a course of Augmentin in case I had a secondary infection. Week 3 - I am exhausted through not having any decent quality sleep, I wake up suddenly 2-3 times a night coughing, choking, gasping, involuntary swallowing/gulping and then vomit, during these episodes I am puse red, my eyes bulge and run and there is the sensation of suffocation. The fear in my kids eyes when this happens is so upsetting. my biggest fear is that they get it. Day 20 - I visit the doctor again for a review on the work situation, working in a hospital setting at the moment is impossible. He has signed me off for another week and prescribed a two week course of Prednisolone 30mg (Steroids) and has advised that these should start making a difference within 48 hrs, I honestly pray they do. Day 21- I woke up violently at 6am with a coughing fit, which resulted in the worst vomiting id had so far, suprisingly,I felt quite well following this for the majority of the day,managing to carry out some light housework etc. But during the evening I suffered some further vomiting after another fit of coughing, leaving me like a wrung out rag. And today Day 22 has been the worst so far, I have a constant headache, my eyes are heavy, I look dreadful and I can't stop crying, the thought of this all going on for weeks yet is so depressing. I feel guilty about not being at work, I am usually such a lively, busy person who loves life, fun, socialising, I have the most amazing two kids who are so worried about me, as Is my husband, who incidentally has started coughing in the last few days. my daughter has had a fever this week and has started coughing today, I am so worried they are in the early stages........Words of wisdom and support gratefully received! X

Dear Hoopsy, What a dreadful time you are having. I feel very fortunate that I didn't have the awful cough that some experience and I put that down to the fact that I had a booster last December when my grandaughter was born. However, the fatigue was awful and it was a couple of months before I felt anything like normal again. It is normal to feel that it will never end but it will. It will just take time. Try to get rid of your guilt with regards to work. I am sure they understand that it is impossible for you to function in the work environment at the moment. Your job is to get better so...just do what is absolutely necessary around the house and rest when you can. Don't be frightened to ask for help either. It must be very difficult for you with a husband and two children to think about too. I didn't have any of the responsibilities that goes with that so I was able to rest quite a bit, and I did. You say that your husband and daughter have started coughing which is a worry. Apparently, if antibiotics can be started in the early stages it can prevent the cough or the cough isn't as bad as it could be. Getting better is the most important thing on your agenda at the moment and when you are feeling well again everything will go back to normal. At the moment you can't see that far ahead but, believe me, it will happen and, in the meantime, I send my very best wishes to you and your family for a speedy recovery. Feel free to contact me at any time if you want to. Take care.

Hello bee5. I am really sorry to hear what a terrible time your husband has been experiencing as a result of Whooping Cough. As I said in my last post, my cough hasn't been as bad as some people have experienced so I feel that I have got off very lightly. I am still just taking one day at a time. Some are good and some are bad. Yesterday was a good day so I visited my Mother and took her out for afternoon tea. When I got home I felt very tired and was in bed by eight and today isn't such a good day so I am sitting down reading and using my notebook! My doctor also says that it is a slow process to get competely 'back to normal'.<br />
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I am glad that your husband is definitely improving and I hope that he continues to make a steady recovery. I would like to send my very best wishes to you both and hope that you will continue to post how he is progressing. Take care.

Finding this forum is a great blessing for me. It's reassuring to read of other peoples experiences. My husband is 66 and has been battling whooping cough for five months. In the early stages he was passing out up to 12 times a day. He cut his head on one occasion and needed twelve stitches in his arm on another. There have been burst blood vessels, constant headache, abdominal cramps, vomiting,spasms, and extreme tiredness. He is definitely improving but it's a long slow process and we wonder if it will ever end. There are still days when he can't drive and his memory and concentration are greatly impaired. The cough is persisting, though less often and less severe. Dr. says it just takes time......but it is soooo frustrating!

I know it is now 2012 but this is the only forum that I have been able to source that actually documents people's experiences. I am 65 and currently in the convalescent stage of whooping cough. It started at the beginning of March but I wasn't diagnosed until two weeks later after a blood test. I was originally diagnosed with bronchial pneumonia after a chest x-ray. My cough has not been nearly as bad as those documented here but this might be due to the fact that I had a booster for whooping cough in December 2011 when my granddaughter was born!<br />
<br />
I am now beginning my fifth week and I am still feeling very tired and everything is an effort. Going to the shops, hanging out washing, etc., is just so exhausting so I sit a lot either reading or on my notebook. I was walking or swimming 3 or 4 times a week and I feel that I should be doing something like walking for 5 - 10 minutes each day to get back on track as perhaps sitting too much isn't helping my recovery. Has anyone got any advice? Has anyone experienced the tiredness that I am experiencing in the convalescent stage? My doctor just said that it would take time but to just do what I normally do, but I can't. I am doing a university degree and I have been granted leave of absence for this semester because I was so unwell and couldn't cope. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

I'm about your age and also not as bad a cough as others, although not the pneumonia. I'm 10 weeks into whooping cough and finally able to start exercising, which was about the same level as yours before w.c. I still have days where I have the "whooping cough fatigue." Two of my sisters came down with it, too, and have had about the same experience. The days without the fatigue are increasing, but there are still afternoons or, at least, several hours where I have no energy. Vit C and B vitamins seem to help then, but rest is best. I'm about 1/2 way back to my normal exercise program, but have to rest a lot after exercising. I'm not up to my normal activity level, but I'm not just sitting on the couch with no energy any more.

Hi painterml! Thanks for your reply. I am really glad to hear that you are getting back to normal. I still have the occasional day of fatigue and also coughing but all in all I am feeling quite normal at last. I must confess that my exercise routine is not nearly back to what it was. Exercise has never been a favourite of mine and I really have to push myself, but once I get into the swing of it I find it quite enjoyable. The trouble is getting to that stage! I do need to exercise to keep my weight in check so it's back to the walking as I find swimming a bit more of a challenge in the cooler weather. Take care.

I am in my 6th week of pertussis. I am a teacher and had started coughing at work for two days. Over the weekend I could feel gurgling in my chest, so went to the doctor on Monday and was found to have pneumonia and went on antibiotics. The coughing started getting worse, back to the doctor and he put me on another antibiotic 'in case' I had pertussis. Then the fun really began. For at least two solid weeks I was having major coughing fits, kneeling by the side of my bed with my head down on a pillow and my husband pounding on my back. This would happen several times during the day. Back to the doctor...tried a couple of different cough medicines. The one with codeine didn't help at all...it was another one that I can't remember right now (sorry). Then I started drinking homemade ginger tea with fresh lemon juice, honey and another tea bag to 'relax' me. My whole body was in spasm just getting ready to hack again. A couple of times I thought I did something to my rib cage, but it was just muscles that were being pulled. After those two weeks I went into a period of coughing mostly just at night time, so was exhausted during the day. Last night was my first night in six weeks that I was able to sleep through the night. Soooo nice. Now I am still coughing through not as hard/violent, and still feel so wiped out. I was going to go back to school yesterday (after being out for almost 6 weeks) and just felt that I didn't have the energy for a class of students. If I talk too much, the coughing begins and my voice gets very hoarse. In the middle of all this I barely had any voice. So, it is so good to hear that others of you have this extreme tiredness after all the weeks of coughing. I think my family thinks I'm trying to get out of more work! Who would ever want this!! I'm hoping to go back to school the day after tomorrow. It will be a short week, then it's February vacation so I will have time to rest up some more. This is the sickest I think I have ever been in my life. I cannot imagine how difficult this is on babies and younger children, breaks my heart. Everyone...get immunized against pertussis. Nothing is worth going through this torture!!...especially be sure to get your babies immunized!!

I am a teacher too and I have pertussis too. This is my 5th week and it doesn't seem like it will ever end. I cough so violently I throw up. Have you found anything that helps you find some relief? Thanks!

I too have been diagnosed with whooping cough. This is my fourth week and I have so far experienced some horrific coughing fits. Often that just hit me out of the blue and take over my entire body leaving me with the feeling of a crushed rib cage. Horrific coughing fits that I gasp for air, choke then cough some more then usually vomit or dry reach. After the very first episode of coughing fit two days later I ended up with horrific pain in my right rib cage that was very painful. Felt like I had a knife wedged in between my ribs. The ER diagnosed it as costochondritis. so that started a week of codeine and nurofen. This did settle my coughing fits and the pain soon disappeared. I'm on week 4 and have so far had two doses of antibiotics. Two days ago I stopped the codeine and ended up having 3 horrific coughing fits last night that have resulted in costochondritis again. So am back on the codeine and nurofen. Was at the ER today and they have basically said that I have to just wait it out. You are all right no one really knows the violence of these coughing fits until you experience or witness it first hand. I plan to do NOTHING for the next 2 weeks and continue on with the nurofen and codeine hoping to get through the worst of it. It's like a bad storm that never ends and is really scary. Fingers crossed I can manage this with the drugs the doctors have prescribed and lots and lots of rest. Will worry about the extra kilos later down the track. At this point I just want my health back.

Thx for all your experiences as terrible as they are. I am 5 weeks into my whooping cough holiday and your coments have helped me feel more comfortable with how i'm feeling. I too have found that swallowing straight after a coughing fit helps clear my airway quicker. And the key is to relax. Unfortunately 2 nights ago i blacked out cracked my head open on the floor, this has made me somewhat nervous because i never know how servere an attack will be. I'm not looking forward to a long journey of getting over this but what can i do. I really feel for anyone particularly children who contract whooping cough. Thx again.

It's 2:15 am and I'm sitting here with my daughter. Both of us unable to sleep due to coughing spasms. My daughter, who is ten years old is about three and a half weeks into the illness and is having problems tonight with her aching stomach muscles and nausea from coughing. She is sitting on my lap weeping in frustration. I am so tired after six nights of poor broken cough haunted sleep. I am only ten days in.<br />
The thought that we have maybe months of this to cross yet is so damn depressing. I work long hours night shift as a nurse on a high level care unit. I have the next week off on sick leave but i don't know how I'm going to cope after with work/ sleep/ other children to look after and a husband who works long hours to support.<br />
Is anyone aware of an active support forum so I can have somewhere to go here when i can't sleep. Nobody around me understands just what this is like, besides my daughter. It would help, I think, to have some support from others experiencing this terrible disease.

I am so glad to read your experience with whooping cough. I am now almost 60 days into this illness and find it to be quite overwhelming at times.( I can relate to that "alone" feeling) It is frustrating because even my doctors do not seem to be able to answer my questions and it is difficult for my family and friends to understand my fatigue and lack of usual energy. I rarely have "fits" of coughing anymore but my chest and back have a lot of pain and cold air and heat can be especially irritating. I definitely have not been able to return to my usual lifestyle and cannot even imagine feeling like this for another 40 days or more.... Ugh!

Thank you, thank you for sharing your experience...It is hard when you get diagnosed with a disease that nobody understands...everyone thinks it's a bad cough or that your getting better cause your not coughing at all! I am having such a hard time...I am educating myself on the subject so that I know what to expect and how to alleviate symptoms...I am scared and feel alone...only my kids have heard me cough and choke...my husband has not...he thinks i am exagerating....I felt better when I read your story because it justified my symptoms and my my fear...

after having whooping cough for four months, i still wake up in the night not being able to breath, severe headaches and extremely sore ears, have been medivaced once four weeks ago with hypothermia, in the middle of awarm day, another side effect of whooping cough, when will it end!!!

Hi, hope its alright to add my experience of whooping cough ?:P, <br />
I was 14 at the time very fit person I do mauythai kickboxing and MMA.<br />
It started just as mild cough every now and then, ( My family and I were planning to go on a road trip up to Townsvill QLD Australia )<br />
After a few weeks my my cough got worse so we went to the day and night doctor, who treated me for whooping cough, the next day I went to school and was sent to the School nurses office for constant coughing and I told her I went to the doctor last night and I'm been treated for whooping cough, I was sent home and letters were given out to the students saying "A student has cought Pertussis"<br />
The next day I went to the GP to get some blood test done before we go on holidays, they came back negative.<br />
So we left for the road trip, as the weeks went on my coughs turned to episodes of coughing/suffocation fits, I'd wake up in the morning with Uncontrollable chronic coughing, felt like every time i tried to breath nothing went in like my airways were blocked but I could cough? we went to the doctors in Rockhampton half way to our destination, Be cause my blood test came up negative for Pertussis it was ruled out so I got chest x-rays to see if anything was wrong- They came up clear, I was prescribed with steroids and anti-biotic's, By now I have been getting about 7 Cough fits a day, worse at night and in the morning, I remember one fit made me panic so badly I was smashing against any thing in reach trying to get air even jumping..often when I started coughing I'd put my hand around my mouth cause mucus would always poor out, When we got back to Gold Coast We saw the GP again, another blood test was done and more Steroids and ANTI-BIOTICS <br />
(Pretty sure I got sick off the strong drugs every time.) <br />
Few days later, We were called to come in, and I was diagnosed with whooping cough, It lasted 113 days exactly. Strange thing was, I had been vaccinated as a child for it and one the road trip i had my sister and couzin sitting next to me the hole time they never got any symptoms. 2 years later I my lungs haven't Recovered 46 Lung age ( im 15 years old) and I have still have anxiety and panic attacks fearing of whooping cough<br />
<br />
-things that helped me-<br />
<br />
Having some one next to you smashing you on the back ( KICK STARTS YOUR LUNGS MOST THE TIME )<br />
------Do Not Drink Dairy or Consume Any-!<br />
Present day, I have flu symptoms coughing up blood and flem, getting blood test and spit samples tomorrow and had Chest x-rays today, I'll Repost if i have Pertussis again. Hope fully i dont Worst Disease ever!

I'm a teacher and I have just recently been diagnosed with whooping cough. Was pleased to have a name for it. I had suspected whooping cough but was told by colleagues - oh no, you can't possibly have whooping cough, I haven't heard you even cough yet. <br />
<br />
But I had all the symptoms. And the blood test & swabs confirmed it. Was tired to start with; during playground duty I would just just there with no energy to do anything. Then towards the end of the week I started losing my voice and sucking on strepsils like I had never before - that made me think that it was something different, something I had not had before, not just a cold or sore throat. <br />
<br />
Then the Friday night I couldn't lie down for coughing. Every 5 or 10 minutes I was coughing and spitting up clear phlegm - an awful, long night. That's when I got on the internet and searched the symptoms. Had heard that whooping cough or the 100 day cough was going around the area so suspected that. Had the same coughing all night Saturday and Sunday, took Monday off work and went to the doctors. Unfortunately I could only get a blood test the next day so I WENT BACK TO SCHOOL!! and got the blood test (& nasal/throat swabs - ew strange experience) during my lunch break. Results were due back Friday and when I rang on Friday they couldn't give them to me over the phone so I booked an appointment for the Monday and over the weekend I WENT TO A FRIEND'S WEDDING - if they had told me my results over the phone I would have kept myself and my pertussis germs at home!!!! On the Monday, during a lunch break, they told me I had whooping cough. Prescribed anti-biotics. Gave me a medical certificate to take the rest of the week off. Apparently after taking antibiotics for 5 days you are no longer contagious. <br />
<br />
Funny thing is, after the initial three nights of endless coughing, I was kind of OK, apart from a very sore throat, occasional coughing, sucking on strepsils so that I could still talk (read, shout, praise, reprimand) it was only 3 days after I started taking the antibiotics that I started with the FITS but not as bad as some friends (who I've since found out have also had the whoops). Every night I wake up around 2am-ish and again at 5am-ish with a sudden uncontrollable cough and my body feels like it's being squeezed, the more I cough the less I can breathe and I end up retching, tears running out my eyes, and I try swallow air - I can't breathe but I can swallow and that's what I do (followed by a huge burp later on). <br />
YUK. But other than that I'm fine - sortof - it's more controllable during the day. I'm grateful that I haven't passed out or had more fits. Woke up only once last night so I thought I was getting better, but just had a fit before coming on to the forum. <br />
<br />
If you're reading this and you haven't had whooping cough, get yourself vaccinated!

My 13 year old daughter has this horrible, debilitating disease and I am so happy to find others who have had the same experience. Parents and teachers at her school have no concept of how awful it is and I think I'm going to forward on this web page to give them an idea of what she's going through. As a parent it's like hell not being able to help and the suffocating/choking attacks are terrifying for her and me. She seems to have mastered preventing them in the day but is sleeping really badly partly out of fear of them returning. She is a top sportswoman at school and is so frustrated at not being able to do well in anything. Having read your experience I am now going to be much tougher on what she does and doesn't do. Athletics is finished thank goodness and I'm going to keep her off team sports. I've advised her to sleep upright and I'm off to get a steam vaporiser straight away. By the way - I read an amazing article (http://www.angelahoy.com/?p=67) which states what I was starting to work out anyhow - DON"T take cough medicine as it makes it worse. It was also interesting what you said about picking up every bug. She has been sick with anything going around and now I understand why. Very upsetting for someone who is so rarely ill. Thank you for your timeline - it gives me an idea of what to expect. I think we are in week 6 at the moment and I'm pretty well writing off the rest of the term. Worryingly I suspect my 3 year old also has it... not so acutely at the moment, but he is choking when he coughs in the night. I'll keep you posted on how things go.

Reply to NBondi. When i was about 15, we had a whooping cough epidemic at school. One of my teachers at the time caught it. I don't know who i got it from but i remember the coughing/chocking attacks. They were scary. I had a very scary coughing attack after breakfast and i ended up throwing it all up and panicking. There seems to be alot of bad coughs going around now aug 2011. Did your daughter's coughing attacks frequently end in throwing up like mine did?. I just hope i don't get it again with all these bugs going around again.

i was immunised against whooping cough and i thought it had been eliminated from aus....were you when you were a baby?