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whooping cough (pertusis)-can it cause lung damage and asthma?

I had whooping cough 3 years ago and since then have never stopped coughing.  I have a deep dry hacking cough but more times than not its a productive cough with a lot of thick white secretions.  At times the mucous makes me feel like I am drowning-I just cant seem to get the mucous to totally go away.  My Pulmonologist diagnosised me first with post infectious cough and then cough varient asthma.  My asthma is not at all controlled despite numerous nebulizers, steroids treatments which make me profusely sweat, unable to sleep and essentially a crazy person-(so I refuse to take that daily), inhalers and now allergy shots weekly.  Is it possible that the pertusis left me with scars or other permanent lung damage?  My voice is constantly horse/raspy.  I have seen GI specilaists and had an endosocopy which showed mild reflux disease and take nexium, ENT doctors did complete sinus workup and I have no sinus problems.  I can feel the asthma attacks coming on most of the time and can lessen the symtpoms somewhat with nebulizer, rescue inhaler and cough medicine.  But there are times when I started violently coughing for no apparent reason.  Air travel worsens my symptoms which is difficult since I have to travel frequently for my job.  I have had pulmonary function tests that indicate asthma, CT Scans essentially are normal except for a 4cm lesion that has not changed.  

Does anyone know of adults who were infected with whooping cough that resulted in chronic/ hard to control asthma or other related respiratory problems and sudden onset of significant allergies?  I try like heck to make the best of it, I continue to work, I carry a portable nebulizer with me every where I go (which at times freaks out the TSA security guards in airports because they dont know what it is)  I frequently just start coughing uncontrolably which is very distressful and frightening because I then wonder...am I going to be able to control this attack this time?...which of course then makes matters and breathing  worse not to mention it is embarrasing to have this happen in public places.  
This coughing is really affecting my quality of life!!  I am so frustrated, discouraged and at a loss as to what I can do or try to make this go away or at least be under control?  Does anyone know if there is a hospital or group of doctors that specialize in chronic coughs?  I live in the Northeast section of the USA but at this point will travel anywhere to see any specialist that may have an answer.  I've read some posts discussing brittle asthma.  Do my symptoms sound similar?
HELP please!  
33 Responses
Avatar universal
I am experiencing a similair problem. I have been sick now for almost 9 months since contracting whooping cough. I have had 2 bout of sudden onset pneumonia and have been told i have permanent lung damage and damage to my voice.

Because of this I have been unable to work (it' hard to work when you just lose your voice out of the blue and have constant raspy voice!) I have lost my business as I constantly am taking time off.

I am still seeing specialists having tests and I feel sick and lethargic most of the time. I am in my 40's and I feel like an invalid.
12 months ago I was a fit and active person, successful and busy living life. I am now unable to work, can't do exercise as it bring on asthma, I get chronic lung infections, which have twice ended up in a pneumonia.

I want to punch people who try and say that adults don't get very sick with this or that it doesn't cause permanent damage. Bull&*t!!
I was diagnosed with whopping cough in feb of this year,  then contacted pneumonia in march and again in June,  both with pleurisy.  I'm constantly taking time of because i can't get my breathe and have been told by doctors that i am psychosomatic! I'm not being taken seriously by my GP and have have a loss of voice on and of since.  Not knowing a reason is making me crazy!  I know I'm not dreaming up my symptoms.
I also know how you feel. I suffered an upper respiratory infection for about a year before I realized it was pertussis. I was never vaccinated and I can tell you from my own experience at pertussis won't go away on its own. I want to punch people who think I'm lying or those who laugh about it but I can tell you from experience how true it really is because I nearly died.  yes, I feel like I would really like to tear into some people out there because they obviously were either vaccinated or they didn't really have pertussis but instead bronchitis. I've seen a video  of an adult hospitalized with whooping cough, so yes, it can be just as dangerous and adults as it is in children. I must now use inhalers and if I go to long without my medicine, I have serious issues. nebulizers our hospital grade treatment at home, and even ambulances carry albuterol and nebulizers for on-site treatment  so patients don't necessarily have to be transported. They even treat people with COPD. Patients are actually expected to keep their asthma medicine well-stocked and not have to depend  on emergency treatment all the time if at all. If you keep up with your treatments, there's very little to no chance you'll ever need an ambulance for your asthma as long as you can keep  your medicine well-stocked and keep up with your treatments
Avatar universal
Here ya go, research this. Hope it helps. :)

(Drosera) or
Sundews were used as medicinal herbs as early as the 12th century, when an Italian doctor from the School of Salerno by the name of Matthaeus Platearius described the plant as an herbal remedy for coughs under the name "herba sole". It has been used commonly in cough preparations in Germany and elsewhere in Europe

(Drosera) -Sundew tea was especially recommended by herbalists for dry coughs, bronchitis, whooping cough, asthma and "bronchial cramps". A modern study has shown that Drosera does exhibit antitussive properties.

Today Drosera is usually used to treat ailments such as asthma, coughs, lung infections, and stomach ulcers.
horehound candy also helps with coughs. You can keep them in a sealed container in definitely under refrigeration from what I found out, and the goodness never fades under those conditions. There are different colors and flavors of horehound candy, you may want to check it out and keep a bunch of it handy and introduce others to it  and let them try it. This is how I was introduced to it and I now keep some handy. You can also research about the health benefits of horehound candy
Avatar universal
i had whooping cough for weeks then one night it got really bad and i stopped breathing for 30 sec to a min and again 2 days later since then i have not stopped breathing, but i now cough alot and it slows me down from running or talking for long times , im wondering if i have asthma or something else sometimes taking deep breaths make me cough that has never happen before ?
breathing stopping could actually mean sleep apnea, you may want to get that checked out because one time you may not be so lucky and you may actually not be breathing for a little too long  and have a very hard time catching your breath. Don't let this go
Avatar universal
Wow..FINALLY...I found this blog and what a relief.  I contracted pertussis in May of 2011 and have not stopped coughing since.  I was very ill for about 2 months and since I have bouts of coughing spasms every single day.  My profession requires alot of time talking and this has been such an embarrassment since it is unpredicatable and violent.  I've tried everything and even spent time awake at night wondering if this is lung cancer.  My chest hurts from a year of coughing spells and I feel crazy.  I'll try the Drosera suggested in another post and any other suggestions are so welome.  I've been told everything from allergies to psychosimatic illness...yeah right.  Thanks for the posts and if I find the magic cure I will be sure to share...
Avatar universal
My daughter came down with pertussis last year. It took them 2 months to diagnose her and she ended up having to do 2 rounds of antibiotics. She would wake up at night gasping for air. It was very scary! Since then she has been diagnosed with asthma and her lung function is very low. She is on preventative inhaler 2 times a day and has to carry an emergency inhaler. I am concerned the whooping cough has permanently damaged her lungs. Has anyone had this confirmed?
Avatar universal
I have been on the coughing wagon for a little over a month now. My symptoms of my cough are moderately mild then what is described above. I don't have a raspy voice, I don't feel ill other then when I cough too much and get a headache for a spell. Or otherwise pass out for a few seconds.  I did how ever talk to a pharmacist and he told me that pertussis is going around in my region. What ever the case is, it seems like there is no remedy for this other then to let it work through the system. I was told by a "physicians assistant" at a no income health clinic for the poor that I have asthma. But after this went away last year, I didn't have any spells of coughing like this or wheezing or anything.  He also sent me to a cardiologist because he thought it might be associated with an anomaly in my heart beat, which racked me up a 400 dollar bill that went into collections that I can't afford to pay all for nothing.  
Anyway, the pharmacist told me to try mucinex to help break up the phloem and I will be lucky if I am over it by december.  Ladywiz, thank you for the reference to the Drosera. I may try that. And try and quit smoking in which I believe this cough has nothing to do with either because i have only been smoking for 6 years and have dealt with recurring bronchial crap for 14 years now.
Avatar universal
I have been suffering with a dreadful cough since 4 April.  Doctor thought it was bronchial asthma as I am asthmatic and treated me for that with normal antibiotics and steroids.  When it made no difference to my condition I was put on stronger antibiotics and new inhaler.  This gave me oral thrush that was absolutely awful.  So then I am on anti-fungal tablets, they did not work and the cough by now has got progressively worse.I then am put on a three week course of steroids which brought back the oral thrush only much worse this time.  I felt like a complete mess.  Three weeks ago my doctor did a blood test for whooping cough, not had the results back yet but I am convinced this is what I have.  Five months on and I am still coughing and gasping for breath and I have been vomiting lately too.  The worst of this is the incontinence that I have had right the way through this illness.  Its just gotten worse and worse.  I am going back to doctors in the morning to see if something can be done but I doubt it.
Avatar universal
Wow,i know how you feel .I came in contact with whooping cough in june 2012 and i have never be the one in my family who is sick . This is the worst I have ever felt and now iI wish the cough would go away and my voice would come back . I now have an inhaler. It does not help. My job is with a large retail company and they have no concern on how I feel and says I came in contact not in their company. well please keep in touch and god blessing to you
Avatar universal
I had whooping cough in September (self-diagnosed - as the clinic I went to doesn't even test for it!  They say "it doesn't matter - bronchitis, asthma, pertussis - we treat it the same way anyway".  This is a real problem!).  I took a z-pak then and feel better but am left with sudden coughing fits that can cause larynx spasms and are very embarrassing in public.  My voice is also raspy and I often have to stop mid-sentence to avoid triggering "the cough" (as my kids have dubbed it).  I have my first cold now since then and it seems to have re-triggered the cough's severity.  I have also seen a doctor who basically says it will go away with time and he sees nothing wrong!  In the meantime I feel like I can hardly hold a normal conversation!  I have searched all over the web and here is what I am going to do:

- Definitely trying the Drosera
- Will use the mucinex if needed (only have throat mucus when I have a cold though - otherwise the cough is a dry, "catchy" one)
-And plan on trying this accupresssure trick next coughing fit: Laryngospasm notch maneuver (see this link: http://academiclifeinem.blogspot.com/2010/12/trick-of-trade-laryngospasm-notch.html )

Will report back.
Unless you already had asthma and/or are coughing up tons of mucus from your lungs, I really don't think this is a lung issue at all.  It is a larynx issue.  The pertussis bacteria attaches to your larynx and I think has done some damage - making the cough reflex super sensitive and triggering spasms.  I WILL find away to beat this!  Good luck to everyone.
self diagnosed is right, I am also self diagnosed because I had pertussis and it nearly killed me. It took six visits to the ER before I was finally able to get in to my new doctor after my previous one died and it was a while before I could get into see the new one  and only one pill even work to actually kill the pertussis bacteria. I can't be out in the extreme cold without serious risk of an asthma attack or some other respiratory issue and I can't be around smoke either. I must be in a strictly smoke free environment unless I have a certain kind of ventilation set up to where fans are blowing the smoke a certain way out the window. It's not 100% perfect but I'm considering investing in a portable smoke eater. I don't smoke but some people I know do. I can't make them stop smoking around me  but one of them cares enough about me and wants me around bad enough to make some kind of accommodations where we're all happy. What I prefer they didn't smoke around me? Yes absolutely! However, I don't have that choice so the person who cares most about me to have me in his home will make accommodations where I don't suffer or have to run out  every time someone lights up which is usually every few minutes. If I ran out every few minutes, I wouldn't even be there at all. One place so I can control is my own house and I find it better to just stay single to reduce the risk of anyone ever bringing smoke into my home because I just can't be around it at all
Avatar universal
Me too! I had whooping cough starting in May and was told that the cough could last 100 days. I am still coughing and it is almost December. When I cough... daily... I cough so hard that I gag. This is crazy and scary. I keep saying that I will go to the doctor "next week" if it doesn't stop. I have been saying this since the 100 day mark. I just hate to sound like a hypochondriac, so I haven't gone yet. I'm really afraid that they won't be able to find a cause, but this cough is very real and I'm really tired and embarrassed by it! Have you had a diagnosis yet? I don't smoke and have worked in a smoke free environment for almost 8 years. Thoughts??? Has anyone stopped coughing or had a successful diagnosis???
Avatar universal
I had WC in April and was also told to expect 100 days.  Well almost 8 months later.....still dealing with this.  Although my "episodes" are nothing like they were at the beginning, they still are interfering with my life.  It will come on out of the blue (still mostly at night but I have had a few daytimes ones). It starts with my nose draining and then the nonstop cough, ends sometimes with the vomit. I take NyQuil at night and that helps to stop it.  Funny, during the heigh of WC nothing would stop the cough for me not even the prescription cough meds.

I spoke to my dr. last week and it she thought it odd I was still dealing with episodes.  They come on maybe once or twice a week.  I did have a total 8 week span when I had none, thought it was totally gone.  She wants to investigate further when I see her next month for my annual :(

I totally get your not going to the dr. yet.  I really do think this is something that has to leave our body and just hasn't yet.  I know my dr. will submit me to tons of tests and I'm sick of it all.  It took almost 5 visits before this WC was even confirmed.  I had the booster shot that was suppose to protect me from this disease 3 yrs ago.  I dread this winter and am not sure if it will still linger or not.  I can't believe I'm still dealing with this after all this time.  Reading the posts on here make me feel somewhat better that this is "normal".  I too was feeling like a hyprochondriac.  Thinking of starting a WC support group LOL!!!    Good luck !

Avatar universal
I am in my 8th week of whooping cough....it is more exhausting then when I went thru chemo. I just had to go back to the hospital today because I thought I had a collapsed lung. They said it was pluracy. Has anyone else been diagnosed with pluracy when they had whooping cough?
Avatar universal
I was 7 when I caught whooping cough for the first time and I suffered greatly from it. Because of it I now suffer from really serious coughs whenever I get ill or have a cold. If anyone else gets a cold or cough it's very light and doesn't effect them much but with me I end up losing my voice, coughing up blood, being sick, unable to breath I have also broken 3 ribs since I was 7 just from coughing. My stomache muscles and lower back muscles do not grow properly anymore as I have ripped them so many times and to much. As you can see I have suffered a lot from having whooping cough and no matter how many times the doctors say that it's likely whooping cough will not affect you in the future it does! I have no remedies myself but would be entirely greatful for any ideas, I have tried every drug and method over the counter and nothing works good luck to the rest of you for finding a cure!
Avatar universal
I was diagnosed with whooping cough 6 years ago.  It was the worse thing I have ever been through with the exception of shingles.  Every since I have bronchitis several times a year.  I have 2 inhalers and Singular on hand at all times.  Last month, November 2012 after having the Tdap immunization in October, I went in to the dr having coughing fits that almost made me throw up.  He said I probably had it again.  This past week, Dec. 27, I went back to the dr since my cough was getting worse instead of better.  I now have a sinus infection and bronchitis added on top of whooping cough.  I am worn out!  Thank goodness I had 2 weeks off work so I can hopefully get over this.  I have also wondered if whooping cough has damaged my lungs making me more likely to get bronchitis and whooping cough again???
Avatar universal
I believe that Pertussis causes scarring to the lungs which leads to asthma I had Pertussis a year ago and have had asthma ever since. I have noticed that my symptoms subside while I am drinking my morning coffee. Unfortunately Decaf does not provide the same relief. I am going to look into drosera at the local herb shop. Thanks Lady Wiz!
Avatar universal
I am the same. I am 43 and was previously healthy. I contracted WC in Jan 13 and have not been  well since. Always coughing and cant breathe. Feel raspy all the time and itchy throat still. It has now been 6 months and I cant even walk up stairs without feeling completely out of breath. I am sure it does permanent damage.
Avatar universal
I got pertussis 8 years ago. I was 43 at the time. It was misdiagnosed in the ER as adult croup. I was coughing so hard I would vomit and even black out. I finally saw a pulmonologist and Pertussis was confirmed by blood tests. I still cannot laugh without having a coughing fit and sounding like a 10 pack a day smoker. I use rescue inhalers at the rate of 1 a week, daily nebulizer treatments, Singulair, Symbicort, and have become Prednisone dependent as well. The long-term use of Prednisone has caused steroid induced diabetes and cataracts, which can't be removed as long as I am still on steroids. My adrenals have stopped working on their own because of the long term use of steroids, and I go into adrenal failure when my docs try tapering me off.

I was active, thin and healthy before contracting pertussis. I took no medication, now I take 12 medications a day and have to inject myself with insulin as well. This is an insidious disease and awareness of the need for adult vaccination should be more prevalent. I have to get off the Prednisone now though because I am becoming insulin resistant.

I have a great pulmonologist and endocrinologist, both of whom are trying everything they can think of to help me. I even went to Hopkins. They told me the problem is that Pertussis was pretty much wiped out at one point, so there are very few practicing doctors in this country who have actually even seen a case of it, let alone treated it before.

My prayers are with all of you who are still going through this difficult recovery.
Avatar universal
wow,  i can't  believe there are other people out there that feel the exact way I do. I have had the WC now since 2009.  For some reason my cough always started at the end of August,  but throughout the year,  when I laugh or have a glass of wine,  a mysterious cough would arrive,  not to mention the feeling of always trying to clear the flem out of my throat. I've been to specialists,  been through scanners,x-rays, tried every inhaler on the market. In 2010 when it came back for a second time, I tried Chinese medicine (acupuncture). My symptoms calmed a bit but here I am again in 2013 and coughing like a mad man.  Has anybody tried the DPT vaccine ? It's so frustrating,  my wife thinks it's all in my head, like a compulsive coughing disorder. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.  Help !!
Avatar universal
I don't know if this post is still active, it's been awhile since someone posted. I have been sick for 2 1/2 years after my second bout with whopping cough. I got my first case in Nov of 2010 and my second case (both confirmed) in Sept of 2011. I never felt like I recovered after the second case and stopped working in Jan of 2012. It's now July 2014. I have had many tests and I am currently on Symbacort and Spiriva both treatments for COPD. I don't have a formal diagnoses yet but I can't even go out of the house without having flare-ups from a number of different triggers, smoke is the worst. I can't tell you how many times I have left my cart full at the grocery store because of a coughing attack. Usually the attack ends with my throwing up (usually in my car) and then going home to have a nebuliser treatment. My lung volumes range between 59% and 71% depending on if I am sick or not at the time, that always makes my numbers worse. Peak flow meter usually measures around 170 to 200 while an average adult my size should be in the 400's. They say that I am hypersensitive and that I have over-reactive airways. They say I am too young to diagnose with COPD but treat me for it which just makes getting disability harder for me. I have been diagnosed with Sleep Apnea, Lung Disease, SOB, Myalgia, Extrinsic Asthma, Cough Variant Asthma, and Vit D deficient. I was just tested for allergies and I am not allergic to anything. I was a functioning adult that had a good job (although I got sick often) prior to the WC. Now it's hard to do daily living and go out of the house. They know there is scar tissue in my lungs but that's about it. I know that WC brought on these problems and although I don't want to hear that other people suffer it's nice to know I am not alone. The doctors know there is a problem but can't seem to label it as anything specific..at least not yet.
Avatar universal
I had whooping cough for 2 months before the coughing subsided.  Then I started getting headaches after being in front of a computer for more than a few hours.  I know it was pressure in my sinus area as I've gotten sinus infections in the past after getting whooping cough.  So i looked up the best option for sinus pressure and found sudafed.  They have different types so be sure to get the one with Pseudoephedrine HCl 120 mg (NOT the Phenylephrine HCl 10 mg).  The 2 ingredients look similar so be sure you get the right one.  This cleared up my sinus infection and headaches.  I guess I was lucky as my lungs seem fine, but this might be useful for others who ended up with strange headaches after whooping cough.  If it helps but continue to keep coming back, then you may need something stronger to get rid of the sinus infection (sinusitis).  I heard of a procedure where they insert a balloon and inflate it in your sinus area to squeeze out the mucus and then clean it out with saline.  I might consider that if get this problem again since it's not a surgery.  That might be a good option for others who have serious cronic sinusitis.  My friend is a doctor and told me it's a 15 min procedure.
Avatar universal
Wow!  Have a similar story.  Active, distance cycling about 50-60 miles most weekends, awesome shape, mild asthma and mild connective tissue disorder, but didn't slow me down.  

Contracted pertussis Oct 2012 at the age of 41, and have been sick ever since.  Now on multiple nebulizer medications twice daily, Spiriva, albuterol for shortness of breath during the day...can't make it through the grocery store without getting short of breath, have a disabled parking placard for my bad days.  And, steroids help, but only at really high doses...have to start at 160 mg PO prednisone for about 3 days, then begin to taper.  If I taper too quickly (as I did this time), I have to go back up and start over. I'm taking calcium supplements, but am already getting osteopenia in my hips.   I also have tested positive for the past year for mycoplasma, which aggravates my asthma...probably got that from the high dose steroids.  

I have been in the hospital 4 times in 1 1/2 yrs for steroid treatment, went to the Cleveland Clinic for additional testing.  No definitive diagnosis...just ruled out a lot of stuff like aspergillous, pulmonary arterial hypertension, etc.  Have been allergy tested twice...all negative.  Very frustrating.  Have been advised to go to National Jewish Center in Colorado, which I'll likely do this, but I'm honestly not optimistic that it will yield anything substantial.

So frustrating.  I've read a lot of anecdotal stories about Pertussis causing permanent damage. I do believe I have read a peer-reviewed article that Pertussis can cause permanent lung damage.  I think I'm very much in that boat now.   I am fortunate to have a job where I can continue to work, but other aspects of my life have taken a significant detour...similar to what others have described.  

I do wish everyone here much luck in resolving their respiratory issues, or at least figuring out what's going on.
Avatar universal
To anyone finding this: I too contracted WC in 2012, when I was 43. It did last hard for nearly 100 days, and I went through three rounds of antibiotics. Later that year I ended up with asthma, which put me on steroids for two weeks. Since then I've had a few coughing spells but nothing too serious, but I still get wheezy sometimes, and my overall fitness level has dropped a lot. So while I'm no where near as bad off as some other adult sufferers here, I want to add my experiences to the list of people who are dealing with long-term negative effects from WC. I used to never have problems catching my breath, or going for long walks -- now I often feel like there is brick on my chest. WC is no joke, and for adults as well as kids, the health costs can be long-term.
Avatar universal
I had WC 3 yrs ago, since then I have breathing problems. Coughing to the point of vomiting or backing out. I have had back spasms and broken ribs from the coughing. Laughing is dangerous because I start coughing so hard I start heaving. Yes I now have asthma, I have always wondered if WC caused it. I can't seem to breath unless I have a fan blowing in my face. I am on an inhaler and sybicort twice daily, but they really don't help much at all.
Avatar universal
Wow!  I am searching for answers for WC to find out why I still have symptoms 5 years later.  I had no idea how sick WC could leave us and how desperate of a situation it is.

Fortunately, I am a nutritionalist and herbalist.  I work with alternative doctors and people who want to get well and what we do is lift diseases.  By lift diseases, I mean, remove the last vestiges of microbes that have been around for years.  Like a teen who gets mono and goes back to activity too fast.  The last of the virus is still in there and often causes exhaustion in adults until the virus comes all the way out.  When it does come out in a resurfacing, you will feel the immune system get flu like symptoms as it finally HAS TIME to address this priority.  That is the key.  When we do this, it takes some preparation to the body ready to go after it.  When people stop and give their bodies a chance to heal, a whole bunch of layers of stuff start to come out.

I wrote out this long cure.  I know it will work but I can't post it here.  I will put it on my blog simply mimi dot net.  You might need some individual coaching on the timing, but it will be easy to take you through now that I walked through it.  Come work with me.  It's affordable and you have nothing to loose.

Mimi Castellanos healthy energetics
Avatar universal
I had it in May of 2013. I was very very ill for six months. And I worry there may have been permanent damage. I now suffer from mild asthma. Although when I get respiratory infections I sometimes close up and have a very difficult and frightening inability inhaling the asthma medicine. And there was one time when I thought I was going to die right in front of my kids while they looked at me with horror unable to help me. That's not something any child should ever see. BTW I caught pertussis from an non immunized child at my Daughter's school. Anybody else out there catch it that way?? Right now I am Really sick with pneumonia and relieving memories that could actually be PTSD LOL.
Avatar universal
Interesting reading other peoples experiences with WC, I got this five months ago. Going through cycles of coughing fits (mainly at night, and the sleep deprivation has been torture) and sinus problems. I don't know how, but I have managed to hold down a job. My case is yet undiagnosed, although from the extensive research I did (through having so much time off work) it can only be this. I do believe I have now contracted complications from this disease, I have never been so desperately ill, bladder incontinence, ruptured intercostal muscles (which was INCREDIBLY painful) with all the coughing, gagging, almost vomiting and feeling like I was gong to suffocate. The worst of it lasted 10 weeks and was very severe at night, I never layed down for a total of 8 weeks and was suffering severe sleep deprivation, no more than an hours sleep at a time, and violent coughing fits lasting upto 90 minutes, and no less that 30. I cannot believe the copious ammounts of mucus the human body is capable of producing.

I eventually (after numerous visits to my doc and to a and e units and even one visit to hospital) demanded a pertussis test, well, by this time it was too late for a difinitive answer.

All my tests excluding sinus ct scan, have come back normal. CT scan reveals severe sinus disease which has never really bothered me, no headaches or sinus pain, only stuffed nose... but the thing that has really messed up my life if the continual feeling of a million minute feathers tickling inside my trachea which sets off the coughing, this has been a feature of my illness throughout the whole five months.

The coughing also makes the muscles in my neck very sore and stiff from all the straining.

The thing I find the hardest to believe, is the disinterest on the part of doctors to acknowledge and subsequently even TRY to help. I have found this whole illness and the failure of doctors and family and friends to help, incredibly depressing and I've been hanging on by a thread all this time.
You are not alone...I caught whopping cough in April 2017 and am still suffering from the fits and coughing spasms It does make your asthma worse and it does come back on you when you get a cold or even a mild bug There is little doctors can do Yes there is this weird feeling in your throat that will bring it all back and you choke and barf and wretch and you cant stop! My daughter also caught it but she recovered within a few months (she does not have asthma and we caught it at the same time by the way and yes she did have her vaccinations) I had it when I was very young and I did not know you could catch it again My job requires me to talk so its very hard I do feel I will always have this and since I had asthma I do feel it has made it even harder to recover I do take 10,000 of D3 when I am ill and 5,000 when I am not (this keeps my lungs healthy and keeps me from getting infections) I am vegan and never eat dairy which can make it worse Diet does help I am sorry for everyone's misery Its really horrible Unless you have had this cough you can not imagine what it does to you I have pulled out just about every muscle in my body!
535822 tn?1443980380
I have not been as bad as you describe but I have this dry hacking cough for months now also aches and pains ..no one diagnoses now and we cant get a doctor here you get to see a practitioner who prescribe anti biotics a lot ..I feel it really is a bad virus going round, or some kind of allergy caused by all the aerial spraying they are doing .
Avatar universal
I got pertussis in early July 2014.  I had an unbelievable sore throat one night.  I actually ran the next day with an old group of friends because I didn't want to miss it.  After that I felt like I was sort of sick for a few days, so I rested, but worked and had to travel so didn't try to exercise.  When I tried to run ~ 10 later, I simply couldn't breath. I figured, I am sick, I will swim because it is less strenuous.  Holy #$%&!  I am a good swimmer and had to turn around 1/2 way down the lane and swim with my head out of the water to get back to the wall.  A week after this, I finally got to my doctor.  Indeed my vaccination was out of date by 3 years because I had gotten a slew of shots to work in the Amazon and the pertussis was still good then.  It has now been almost a year and I still have wheezing and get winded just walking normally.  I am trying to run with my heart rate monitor to keep my speed in check so I can make it through my runs without walking.  Inhalers don't seem to help.  I am pretty depressed by the whole thing.  I used to run marathons under 3:45 and pop out of bed early in the morning because I loved the cleansing, head clearing of a good run.....so when the doctor said my breathing was on the 'low-side of normal', I just cried because I knew, even though I am at Stanford, this was going to be a struggle.  I can breath better than a lot of people AND I don't really have a cough, but I tested positive on a test that often doesn't even register the disease and I have been 'sick' ever since I got it relative to my normal condition.  Thank you for sharing on this site.  I actually have never posted anything anywhere before, but this has taken me over the edge.  Best of luck to all.
Avatar universal
Wow, you sound like me.  I had whooping cough in 2013, it started the end of January and I finally felt closer to normal by the end of May. I was diagnosed with asthma when I was 10. I'm sure that is part of the reason I got WC. Due to the asthma, I often get more sick than others when I get a cold.  So we didn't confirm WC until mid Febryary and by then the damage was done. Just had to treat the symptoms and ride it out. My symptoms were: Very severe cough, incontinence due to severe cough, feeling like I was choking on mucus or a dry throat, not able to sleep for more than 2 hours at a time for almost a month, passing out from coughing, gagging from the cough, cracked rib. Not to mention the severe deconditioning of my body which has taken almost 2.5 years to regain. The thing that helped the most while I was sick was using straight lidocaine in my nebulizer. My doctor said she had a patient with throat cancer and it helped him.  
After the WC I have a lingering intermittent cough, my voice is extremely sensitive to humidity, talking, etc.  my asthma has been worsening and I'm now to the point that I can't leave my house without wearing a mask.  Every little thing sets me off. I'm taking Claritin D, astelin nasal spray, singular, dulera (previously Advair) prednisone, and using the nebulizer 4 times a day. I have been a stay at home mom for several years so it hasn't affected a paying job for me, but it sure has limited my job as mom. Luckily my oldest now has his drivers license so that helps.
It's a crappy illness with long term repercussions and, I believe, permanent damage to my lungs.
I don't have any answers but I sure understand.
Avatar universal
I am so excited that I found this site!  I was diagnosed with WC this September and have not recovered as of yet.  My cough was so severe that I ended up breaking two ribs - each on a separate coughing spell within 2 weeks.  2 months into the gagging, not being able to breathe, and trying not to  break another rib - I was sent to a ENT specialist due to not being able to talk at all.  I lost my voice at the end of August when I believe that I first contracted WC.  It was discovered that I had developed vocal nodes from the coughing.  
I am an elementary music teacher in a building with all kindergarteners and first graders.  I started the year but was only able to teach for the first 2 days.  I was only able to start the year because I had been misdiagnosed(which am sure is common) as having a viral cough.  Because I couldn't talk or sing, and the coughing was very disruptive - I ended up calling the doctor and was then tested positively for Pertussis.  I have been out of work since then.  

I have had some PT for mobility of my upper body, shoulder, & arm of the side where I had the broken ribs.  I also am seeing a vocal therapist who is working with me to retrain me on use of breath support, and basically how to talk again.

From this past four months of constant coughing along with my other complications, I haven't been able to do much of anything.  I have had to rest almost constantly and have no stamina for simple things(ex. washing dishes, laundry, getting groceries), let alone working.  

I am frustrated because my family doctor doesn't seem to think that my symptoms are really legitimate.  In fact, he was ready to send me back to work in 2 weeks after I broke my ribs!  That would have put me back to work at the beginning of October.  I am not even close to ready to be on my feet even part time now - let alone 3 months ago!  I don't feel like he knows enough about the illness to be able to direct me to the next path.  

At the end of December(right before winter break), I went back to work part time(half days) and was only able to work for 2 days and then was back off of work again.  During my 2 days at work, my cough became much worse by the evening of the 2nd day.  I was back to coughing with gagging, tears, & losing my breath.  That continued for close to a week before the cough started to subside a bit.  I still am worse than I was before going back for those 2 days.  My voice still gets raspy.  Even with using a body mic in my classroom for those 2 short half days, I lost my voice completely by the end of the 2nd morning.  I also apparently don't have much of an immune system at this point.  By the end of the 2nd morning, I was sneezing & coughing, as well as having a sore throat.  By the next day, the entire inside of my mouth hurt, along with not being able to swallow.  I started coughing up green mucus.  

My doctor put me on an antibiotic but didn't seem phased by how quickly I got sick.  I have been looking online for months now to see if there are support groups for WC out there.  I have really just been looking for ANYTHING related to this illness which gives advice on any remedies to help - other than rest.  Up until today, I hadn't considered looking up pulmonology sites.  All I could basically find were sites which only told what WC is and most were related only to children.  

One of the things that I am hoping to discover is if there is any types of regimented plans that are used to assist in adults and their recovery.  I am at a loss as to what to do at this point.  I keep having to report to my district as to when I expect to return and all I get from my doctor is whenever you decide you are ready - I'll support it.  I need a plan as to how to be able to get ready!!!  

I try to do things around the house and stay active for an hour or two at a time.  then I rest.  After an hour or two of resting, I get back up and do simple tasks again.  For awhile I had even started trying to walk around the perimeter of my house 2 - 3 times a day - just to start a small exercise step.  At this point, I can not go without at least one solid one and a half to two hour nap in my day.  Also, if I push myself too far, I start a coughing fit.  Sometimes I don't know if what I did is too much until several days after.  For instance, if I do well on a day and I still feel strong enough, then I do the same type of pattern the next day.  Usually by the third day, my coughing is harsh enough that I feel a backslide so I end up needing to do nothing the next day.  

I want to ask my doctor for a referral to a specialist.  Someone who might actually have dealt with situations similar to mine - even if it might not be pertussis but other illnesses with persistent coughing.  Do you have any thoughts as to what type of specialist might be the best to be asking for a referral to?  A pulmonologist?  An Immune Diseases Specialist?  

My doctor's latest recommendation was for me to work mornings, only on Mon., wed., & fridays but my principal won't agree.  Her reasoning is sound and I agree with it.  She feels that this type of set up is not consistent for the students.  My district has been very supportive.  I am very thankful for that!  Since that didn't work, it was recommended that I stay out for 3 more weeks and then reassess.  If I am not doing anything which is any different, how will I be able to reassess that I am ready to go back in to the classroom again???  

Anyone have suggestions on foods/diets/vitamins/other things that might try to help boost my immune system?  

I feel like I am grasping at straws here and just want a way to get well.  Reading these posts at least makes me feel somewhat better.  I at least don't feel like I am going crazy, knowing that others are struggling in similar ways.  What a crazy, sometimes scary, and frustrating illness!
if one doctor won't take you seriously for WC, I would drop that doctor and find another one who listens. Keep trying other doctors until someone listens and takes you seriously. Just because whooping cough is supposed to be wiped out doesn't mean it is and not taking people seriously will cost them their lives. When people die off from WC, Have your family or someone close to you who knows what's going on require an autopsy on your upper respiratory system. specify the person who died had whooping cough when they died but doctors didn't take them seriously. When whooping cough comes back positive, doctors will have to take people seriously, more families can start lawsuits over something like this
Avatar universal
Sadly, so many people here have had the same exact issue. Yes, pertussis does leave damage. I myself had pertussis after  A respiratory infection that developed into pertussis. I thought I could fight it on my own, which is why I didn't seek medical help before I actually did or I probably would've otherwise been fine today. Sadly, I must take inhalants to manage cough variant asthma and also now the wheezing type.  for those who were vaccinated, the vaccine will work for them and they will have a lesser strain of pertussis. If you weren't vaccinated, you just can't get rid of WC on your own. I tried and almost died. I strongly agree with wanting to punch some people who say pertussis doesn't believe permanent scarring or damage. I also want to punch those who claim you can get rid of pertussis on your own when really you can't. Obviously they've never had full-blown pertussis or they've obviously been heavily vaccinated  and had nothing more than bronchitis. Yes, you can still get bronchitis post pertussis but I don't know if WC can strike again, I hope not because I don't think I can handle another round. I also know that pertussis is an airborne virus. I spent much time alone, in fact most of the time I was alone and not around anyone and I stayed pretty much clean. However, I think I may have gotten WC through the air that came down through the vents from an upstairs neighbor who used to live above me. I know this was airborne because I wasn't  even around anyone much if any at all. No one I knew was carrying WC so it was obviously someone within close quarters such as the upstairs apartment and it came down through the vents. I haven't even smelled cigarette smoke coming through the vents and I must turn on my air cleaner or step outside or find some way just to get it out of here. If you have asthma and you're on some medicine, take your medicine very regularly or you'll definitely have serious trouble when an attack happens. When they attack happens you may or may not have any warning. The longer you go without your medicine, the more severe your cough will become whether it be quickly or gradually, but it will happen. Not even trying to scream two vibrate  over the area causing the cough will help very much if at all, I've tried that and it just don't work well. Sometimes when something like that happens you just want to scream while grunting real hard but you can actually hurt your voice doing that. Just keep up with your asthma treatment plan  and don't skip any of your treatment just because you start feeling normal. This is very easy to do and you soon learn real quick just how bad you really need that medicine
Avatar universal
come to think of it, I just thought of something. Not all coughing fits are asthma, some of them are vitamin C deficiency's and even bacteria from the stuff that builds up on the tops of our tongues. I found that the stuff that builds up  on the back of my tongue will string down my throat, choking me and causing a bad coughing fit. Keeping my tongue brushed really works wonders so I will know when my coughing fit is asthma and when it's not. Here is my trick:

* Next time you're in the bathroom or in front of any mirror, check the top of your tongue. If you have a yellowish white coating on your tongue, start off by swishing with straight vinegar and pay special attention to the top and especially the back of the tongue. Next, get a real good tongue scrubbing toothbrush and a real good toothpaste that's known for deep clean and brush your tongue really well, especially toward the back.

* Next, swish with the gold unflavored Listerine, this is the one I highly recommend when you're sick or need to get rid of mouth bacteria very quickly

* another trick is make sure you're up on all of your nutrients, especially vitamin C.

* Don't forget to drink plenty of water each day, the human body needs at least 64 ounces of water per day. Without enough water, your body can't function as well as it can if you were drinking enough water. One thing I highly recommend is drinking 1 L of water  on an empty stomach each morning and flush out your intestinal system. This will really work wonders. Some people may balk at the idea of warm water, but think of how good you'll feel afterwards and the energy you'll gain when your bowel system starts eliminating all the toxins, everyone wants increased energy and this will definitely do it while rehydrating you're dehydrated body. In fact, this is a healthier way to get more energy than those energy drinks that are out there and better than pop or caffeine such as coffee or tea. Drinking warm water really works wonders, far more than you think.

I'll tell you a little secret

* I haven't had the flu shot since 1988 and I never get the flu and rarely ever get a cold, So I must be doing something right and I'll keep doing it. Each year I don't get cold or flu can't be lying
I found that my problem was a bacterial infection and that ozone therapy gets rid of it .along with any yeast or molds .funny thing is after 3 years of suffering and many drs lying to me I found one that would do a simple sputum culture and tomorrow I get my antibiotics and ozone has almost gotten rid of it in about a week.after all this mess I will take the antibiotics along with the ozone.just in case.
Avatar universal
I had full blown almost dying whooping cough 2 years ago and i now use the phrase 'since my whoopung cough alot'
I have trouble breathing, constant phlegm and congestion, stomach problems and occasional incontinence.
It was I who diagnosed myself after repeated visits to the dr (almost daily).
He finally agreed to a blood test which was sent to a special lab and about a week later I received a call from the dr and the board of health concurring with my diagnosis.
On the day my blood was tested I was finally given antibiotics (which had no effect and was given a nebuluzer which made me crazy and was switched to a nebuluzer which had no effect whatsoever.) I imagine my belated treatment was worthless and feel that I am suffering still today because of not being treated when I started complaining.
The dr knew there was wc in the area but refused to recognize the symptoms because I was 'too old' (69)
Since the illness my blood pressure has gone even higher despite my medication I am constantly tired and become impatient very quickly. I suffer from stomach upset and nausea.
Thank you all for sharing. It makes me realize I am not the only one with complications but the situation is still unsettling because I have not found a solution
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