This one is even worse. Again: warning. The cough goes on and on and on and on and she cannot get her breath.

I’ve done that gasp a few times as an adult, just from a regular cough with a cold – that dragging thing where you desperately try to haul in the air by force, and you make that sound. It’s awful. A tiny child doing it all day every day for months…deargod.

Updating to add: she’s fine now. She’d had all her shots, but got it anyway – but probably a milder dose. (That’s a milder dose? Oy.)


  1. says

    I couldn’t even get through 30 seconds of that one.

    CDC recommends a Tdap vaccination with a Td booster every 10 years thereafter for adults who have not had a vaccination since age 11. Carlie on the previous thread mentioned that their husband contracted the illness, so adults are definitely at risk.

  2. nonlinear feedback says

    I had a mild case of whooping cough when I was a kid. That was before there was any kind of anti-vax movement, and I was vaccinated, so it was the usual low background rate thanks to vaccinations not being 100% effective for 100% of the population. I attribute the fact that it lasted maybe a week to partial vaccine effectiveness; even when they fail to prevent infection, they often reduce severity and duration.

    It was still terrifying. I remember my parents taking me into the bathroom, closing the door, and turning the shower to max heat to generate a ton of humidity. That helped ease my coughing fits enough that I could breathe.

  3. Amy Clare says

    Horrible. I had whooping cough at age three and it’s one of my earliest memories, waking up in the middle of the night coughing so much that I vomited, night after night for I don’t know how long. After I recovered I was left with weak lungs and usually had a handful of chest infections each year, until the age of 18 ish. All because my family GP (!!!) told my parents that the whooping cough vaccine could cause dementia in some children, so I didn’t get vaccinated. Details of the late 70s/early 80s scare in the link below, turns out that it was rubbish obviously but damage done (I was one of the lucky ones all things considered). The thought of people doing this again to their kids makes me speechless – in fact a close friend is anti-vax, hasn’t protected her son from this, and I have no idea what to say to her.

  4. geocatherder says

    I can relate; I get asthma attacks like that. Really hard coughing, airways close up, and suddenly I’m frantically gasping from a rescue inhaler — and coughing it out before it can do much good. The longest continuous run of this I’ve endured was about an hour, and every muscle between my shoulders and my hips hurt the next day. I’ve had the airways completely close up for several seconds at a time, seconds that seem like hours. I’ve had total strangers watch me go through this in public and offer to call 911. It sucks, but most of the time meds keep it under control.

    To see that misery visited on a child, and for weeks or months? It just makes me want to cry in frustration. It makes me want to beat parents who don’t vaccinate about the head and ears. Hard. Lots. And I’m not normally a violent person.

  5. AnotherAnonymouse says

    My fully-vaccinated child got a mild case of it last summer at a sleepover camp (thanks, parents who sent their sick child to camp! Words just can’t describe my feelings for you!). The child came home sicker than I’ve ever seen a child get, and coughed for three months.

  6. embraceyourinnercrone says

    Which brings up an interesting dilemma : What do you do when your child’s other parent does not want to vaccinate or wants to”space” vaccinations out so as not to “overload” the child’s immune system?

    Take the child for vaccinations without the other parents knowledge?

  7. spanner says

    A few years ago I went to the pharmacy to get tdap and dragged my mom along to get that and a couple of other vaccines. They could not give her tdap, only td, because she was over 65 (or 62? I don’t remember the exact cutoff). I checked the CDC site and, sure enough, the pertussis vaccine was not approved for older folks. Now I’ve just checked the CDC site again and it seems to indicate that people over 65 should get the tdap. I’ll call the pharmacist tomorrow, but I’m wondering if anyone knows if that is correct and, additionally, letting folks know that it may be, if they thought it wasn’t.
    Maybe no one is still reading this thread but I’m also kind of curious if there are such age restrictions outside the US.

  8. embraceyourinnercrone says

    Here are the most updated CDC guidelines, looks like it s recommended for over 65 now:

    Updated Recommendations

    “In October 2010, despite the lack of an approved Tdap vaccine for adults aged 65 years and older, ACIP recommended that unvaccinated adults aged 65 years and older be vaccinated with Tdap if in close contact with an infant, and that other adults aged 65 years and older may receive Tdap (3). In July 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved expanding the age indication for Boostrix (GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, Rixensart, Belgium) to aged 65 years and older (4). In February 2012, ACIP recommended Tdap for all adults aged 65 years and older. This recommendation supersedes previous Tdap recommendations regarding adults aged 65 years and older.”

  9. embraceyourinnercrone says

    Sorry, I guess you had already read that. Personally, considering the current resurgence of whooping cough I would go with the newest CDC recommendations (and I did get my Tdap booster a couple months ago) but that’s me. I decided since my nieces and nephews were all having kids, that I was going to be around, it might be a good idea. Also I visit places in New York occasionally that have high rates of non-vaccination…

    I don’t want to risk bringing something home to the babies…

    I am in my fifties and old enough to remember getting mumps, chicken pox , etc My brother had scarlatina(mild form of scarlet fever) a friend of the family got rheumatic fever and has permanent valve damage to her heart(had to have valve replacement). My sister got measles at age two and my parents were afraid they were going to lose her. Another friend developed meningitis due to the mumps and was hospitalized, How do all these non-vaxing parents not know any of this?

    (yes I realize scarlatina / rheumatic fever are due to untreated strep/ lack of penicillin unfortunately there are pockets of parents around here that are into “all natural or homeopathic treatments” yeah well death is perfectly natural)

  10. says

    Don’t worry about stuff we may have already read – better to duplicate than miss!

    I just checked my medical records and sure enough I got the tdap in February 2012. Thank you Group Health.

  11. spanner says

    Yeah somehow I missed that particular document that lays it all out and is clear about recommendations for people over 65. My mom won’t be happy, but I will. She works with high-risk folks and we also have new babies in the family so it just makes sense. Thanks.

  12. Crimson Clupeidae says

    I had an awful case around 2000. I had my ribs x-rayed because the docs thought I had cracked or broken at least one, the pain was so bad. They couldn’t find anything on the x-rays, though. Even after the cough was gone (it lasted about 6 weeks), my ribs were sore for another month.

    I was actually up to date on my shots at the time, so according to my doc (and she specialized in immunology and ‘travel medicine’) I had a mild case…..

    That sucked. I get the booster every ten years now, for sure.


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