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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

Pretty sure my dd has whooping cough

(30 Posts)
reikizen Fri 20-Apr-12 17:52:08

although GP says no as she is 'not ill enough' despite the fact that whopping cough does not actually make you ill as such. Anyway, has anyone else's dcs had whooping cough and do you have any tips for relieving the awful symptoms. I realise that antibiotics are only effective at the start of the illness and she is about 4-5 weeks into it. (The paroxyms of coughing wnding in vomiting esp at night bit). Thanks

Staverton Fri 20-Apr-12 18:28:07

You are probably right. Whooping cough is very common but much milder because of the vaccine. It is under diagnosed as gps aren't aware how prevalent it is.

Have a look at written by a gp.

Jellykat Fri 20-Apr-12 18:31:46

Yes, DS2 had it when he was little, our GP poo pooed the idea for weeks too, i actually taped DS2 coughing at night in the end, and took it and a tape player to the eldest GP at the practice, he confirmed my suspicions and kept the tape to play to the younger GPs as a good example of what they're looking for.

The older GP and my lovely next door neighbour (whose DC had had it when younger) advised the following which did help-

-Steam and cool damp air help, so run a bath and sit with your DD in the room with the steam, breathing deeply and slowly through the mouth, when they're coughing badly.
-Ventilate the bedroom and if you have central heating, put a bowl of water with a couple of drops of Eucalyptus or Lavender in, on or as near to the radiator as poss.
-Wrap body up warm, and go outside in the night air for a couple of mins when coughing badly (you need sympathetic neighbours for that one)

Good luck, we did just over 11 weeks and i know it is exhausting and scarey!

reikizen Fri 20-Apr-12 20:34:58

wow, 11 weeks. I am losing my sanity due to the fact that she has been in bed with me for the past 2 weeks. She wakes up every hour and coughs sometimes til she is sick so I can't relax. And I dread to think what people think when they see her coughing as it is so scary to see. Thanks for those tips, I will be trying them all!

reikizen Fri 20-Apr-12 20:41:35

oh, just checked out the whooping cough site and I am now convinced after watching the video. Ho-hum, I'll just have to resign myself to a very long recovery won't I?

MistressOfTheTeapot Fri 20-Apr-12 20:48:37

You have my sympathy.

Both mine had whooping cough when they were little (at the same time sad) and I took them to the doctors 7 times.

First GP said DS1 (5 at the time) had asthma - without doing any tests - and gave him an inhaler. We took him back as the inhaler was making things worse. He got given a different inhaler.

DS2 (3 at the time) then got it - he was also given an inhaler without any tests. Then antibiotics. I actually mentioned whooping cough as the cough was so distinctive but this was dismissed.

We spent 6 weeks of having both DC coughing and vomiting all through the night.

When DS1 went back to school after the summer holidays, we found out other members of his class had had whooping cough throughout the holidays.

They have never had asthma attacks.

Staverton Fri 20-Apr-12 20:53:20

You can swab for it. Obviously there is no specific treatment so it's academic but it's worth doing to educate the GP!!

Good luck you poor thing

Advice by the poster above is good (am a doc)

Jellykat Fri 20-Apr-12 21:39:15

God i feel for you, it's such a long hard trawl!

You must both try and nap whenever possible to catch up, and yes i have to admit being worried what others thought, but ignore that.

Oh- make sure she drinks lots of fluids, i remember DSs saliva getting very thick and stringy at times, which didn't help with keeping the airways clear when he was gasping.

Look after yourself too, eat well etc.. sleep deprivation will deplete your immune system and you need to keep your strength up x

darrenc Sun 22-Apr-12 00:24:30

i am very sorry but you have that fact wrong, there is a course of antibiotics design solely for whooping cough, i also would advice u if u think it is whooping cough please take them to the hospital, i dont no where you live but the is almost epidemic levels off it in the usa australia ireland and case are rising very alarmingly in the uk 150% rise in the last 3 months on last years figures, i no this cos my daughter is 1 of those statistics that sadly lost her battle for life against it last year, i dont no how old your child is but the younger they are the worse it is for them.

Homebird8 Sun 22-Apr-12 00:45:41

So sorry to hear about your little daughter Darren. And thank you for sharing.

My friends almost lost their premmie twins to whooping cough last year and are horrified to find that booster vaccinations for adults aren't available in the UK. A lot of pertussis is undiagnosed. These babies caught it from their undiagnosed mother.

The diagnosis takes about 10 days from the test, I'm told, so there is a test and there is treatment. Request both, everyone who is concerned. Babies can die and bigger children and adults have contact with them.

Staverton Sun 22-Apr-12 00:47:14

Darrenc I am so terribly terribly sorry. How horrendous. There are no wordssad

I don't wish to contradict anything you say as feel that would be inappropriate but instead point the OP to this page

Antibiotics are only effective in the first few days- week and they usually do not affect the course of the illness. It is usually a mild illness the exception being in infants.

startail Sun 22-Apr-12 00:53:35

There was a piece on radio 4 about the Stats for Whooping cough being a huge under estimate.
Google medical matters, inside health whooping cough, maternal deaths (same program) and it's available as a pod cast. iPods I'll not copy links they just open themangry

bumbleymummy Sun 22-Apr-12 13:01:25

The vaccine only provides protection for a very limited time so it's not really surprising that there is a lot of it around. Also not surprising that it is misdiagnosed/ under estimated because people assume that if they are vaccinated then they are guaranteed immunity for life.

So sorry to hear about your daughter Darren. I think if anyone even suspects whooping cough then they should keep their child away from others until they can be tested to reduce the risk of it spreading to the more vulnerable.

reikizen Sun 22-Apr-12 16:59:38

darrenc, so sorry to hear that and I'm sorry if this thread has brought any upsetting memories back for you.
bumbleymummy, this is easier said than done as you don't know what it is in the initial stages and once it is clear that it is whooping cough it has invariably passed the highly infectious stage. Also, it may take months to resolve itself so this is not practical.
As I understand it the antibiotics would not provide any benefits either for my daughter or to prevent further spread at this stage in the illness. I also understood that the swabs were not very accurate at this stage, but I may be wrong?

Staverton Sun 22-Apr-12 18:26:53

Sorry yes she is 5 weeks in

PCR from a swab may still be positive but gold standard is blood tests for antibody levels

I suppose you need to weigh up the benefits of knowing for sure vs trauma of blood test when there is no treatment at this stage...

dikkertjedap Sun 22-Apr-12 18:37:44

You are still very contagious during both the first and second stage of whooping cough.

If you take either erythromycin (lots of side effects, needs to be taken 4 times in each 24 hour period, cheap drug) or clarithromycin (far fewer side effects, needs only to be taken twice during a 24 hour period, more expensive) DURING THE FIRST STAGE then you reduce your own illness. However, if you are already in the second stage, taking antibiotics won't help you anymore but it would ensure that after having completed the course of antibiotics you are no longer contagious.

haagendaz Mon 23-Apr-12 08:45:50

Glad I've found this thread and it's so recent but what awful stories I'm so sorry.

My DS (3) has been really unwell and now developed a terrible cough, esp. at night and has been sick a few times. We took him to the out of hours doc yesterday and they said it could well be whooping cough as there is so much of it around at teh moment but that we need to wait until 14 days from teh onset for them to confirm.

Will try the steamy bathroom tonight.

reikizen Mon 23-Apr-12 13:40:35
link to the health protection agency info on whooping cough. Seems there is no definitive answer on antibiotics and preventing further transmission. I am just employing good hand hygiene and encouraging my daughter to either wash her hands or use an alco-gel hand rub when she coughs.

mummytopebs Mon 23-Apr-12 21:00:55

My dd was in hospital over the weekend where they said they believe she has whooping cough. She has been started on antibiotics 4 times a day.

I do not think they like to admit whooping cough though as they didnt swab for it and on her discharge letter they have just put upper respiratory viral infection! But the doctor said it was a definite whooping cough cough. At least they are treating it. Hope you get some help soon. The cough i awful and dd is shattered because of it.

dikkertjedap Mon 23-Apr-12 23:44:27


The HPA link actually states:

Confirmed and suspected cases should be excluded from nursery or school for five days from commencing antibiotic therapy.

Basically, they want suspected (and confirmed) cases to take anti-biotics for five days before returning to school to prevent further spreading.

lizzywig Wed 25-Apr-12 20:59:54

Please persist with your doctor. I had whooping cough when I was 10 and almost died from it. I didn't have the vaccination as I had a fit (first and last) on the day I was due to have it and so the doctor decided it would not be safe. Even though the doctor knew I had not had the vaccination he was still adament that I did not have it. My grandmother had been a nurse and knew the signs and my mum had worked in the office of births, deaths and marriages and had signed many certificates for people who had died due to whooping cough, so she also knew the signs and was all too well aware of the dangers. She persisted and eventually (when I threw up on the doctors feet from coughing) the doctor listened and "decided" that I had whooping cough. I'm not actually sure what he then did about it, all I remember is my mum giving me lots of honey and lemon and sleeping in her bed with her (while my Dad slept in mine) for about 3 months or so. The room was full of get well cards from my school friends, the neighbours brought me grapes every other day and my mum used to use her best china for my lunch. I thought I was popular, didn't have a clue how ill I was. One night I was sick (from coughing so much) 22 times, the nights were definitely the worst and I had to sleep in with my mum in case I was sick in my sleep and choked. I'm sure your LO will be fine but if your doctor won't take you seriously (as many don't) then why not try another one.

BenedictsCumberbitch Wed 25-Apr-12 21:08:39

It's so strange this thread has appeared today, DS 2.2 has just developed a cough like nothing I'd heard before, he sounds like a seal gasping for air, bad at night the last couple of nihts and I must admit that whooping cough crossed my mind but was discounted as he had his jabs. Does that description sound like whooping cough to those in the know? I was going to take him to the GPs anyway as invariably any cough and cold he gets always ends up on his chest but do you think it's worth mentioning whooping cough to the doctor? I don't want to seem like a know it all parent.

Staverton Wed 25-Apr-12 23:26:47

The OPs dd is most probably out of danger and past the acute stage

Benedict - it's sounds more like croup to be honest. There is a video on whooping cough websites linked to which shows the typical cough. In sure you can find videos of crispy coughs on you tube.
If his breathing is compromised / struggling then he should be seen by a doc

BenedictsCumberbitch Thu 26-Apr-12 07:59:21

Thanks Staverton, another bad night so off to the GPs today.

Metabilis3 Thu 26-Apr-12 15:35:51

My DS most likely has whooping cough, and has just completed week 4. The third visit to the doctor, (the first time we saw a doctor who wasn't a supply doctor) she witnessed a paroxysm - ending with the traditional vomit - and diagnosed him on the spot, but obviously he's had the swabs for the official confirmation - which will take about a week, she said. She also said there have been several cases in the south West. All my children have been vaccinated, but DS is 12 (just) and apparently immunity wears off around 9/10 (if you had the pre school jab. If you skipped that, and your last jab was at 18 months then it wears off much earlier. Or so she says. All my kids had the complete set of jabs). My youngest DD is 8 so she should be fine. My oldest DD has several important exams coming up (3 music, one GCSE module) and at 13 nearly 14 she isn't immune any more, but isn't necessarily old enough for it not to be a thing for her (especially in the light of the music exams).

The whole thing has been hard for DS but just as hard for everyone else - nobody can sleep through the night, the bouts wake us all up not just whichever out of me and DH is 'on call' to make sure he vomits in the bucket and not on the bedclothes (because unlike the rest of us, DS can sleep through is coughing bouts. That boy can sleep through anything. It's his superhero skill).

DS has remained largely cheerful, although obviously when he is having a bout and vomiting it's horrible - but he is gutted that he won't be seeing Avengers Assemble tonight. sad

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