I have been feeling rough for weeks, to begin with I thought it was just the change in weather and that I had caught the common cold along with everyone else but as the weeks have gone on my cold has developed into a cough like nothing I’ve ever had before. A bit like a tube of Pringles, once I start I just can’t stop until I get to the point where I am either gagging and threatening to be sick or I just can’t breathe. I am at my worst in the evenings and through the night, one minute I will be sleeping soundly the next I wake up with a start as I having a coughing fit until I’m nearly sick.
I went to the GP on Monday and waited for 90 minutes to see a Trainee Doctor who told me that it was probably just acid indigestion due to my pregnancy. I told him that as I had suffered with acid indigestion in both of my previous pregnancies I was pretty sure I would know the difference and this was NOT acid indigestion. Still he sent me home empty handed and told me “see how you go over the next week”.
Since Monday I have barely slept and I look (and feel) like something from the Waking Dead as I am so tired. Last night I woke every half an hour coughing then struggling to get back to sleep so I figured I would phone the surgery and try to make a routine appointment to see my own GP who is one of the seniors in the practice even if it meant I had to wait until next week. Imagine my shock when she said “yes he can see you this morning”, result! This time I only had to wait 10 minutes for my appointment and my GP was lovely as usual. He had read my notes and seen my previous visit records, he asked for an update on my condition. As I spoke he pulled up a website on his computer and said “there you go, you tick every box on there” and pointed to Whooping Cough. I thought Whooping Cough only affected children but he told me that it is often missed in adults because people just assume they have a bad cough/cold and don’t bother with the Doctors but actually it is very common in adults as the vaccine you are given as a child only lasts 10 years. We also thought that Hubby would be immune from catching it as he had suffered with the illness as a child but it turns out you can catch it again, although the symptoms would be much more mild.
I asked if there was any chance of me passing it on to the children and he said that Little Bean and Beanie Boy would be ok as they had been vaccinated but Curly’s vaccine would now have expired so there was every possibility I could pass it on to him. This is where my worries really began as Curly’s Mum gave birth to premature twin girls a little over a week ago and Curly spends half of his time with us and half with his Mum. We have now been told that we should avoid contact with him until I am out of the incubation period. I have been given antibiotics which will not help me and will not harm JellyBean but they will lessen how contagious I am and prevent me from passing it on to others. I also have to be careful at Little Bean’s school as there are a number of expectant and new Mums. I would feel dreadful if I passed this on to someone else with a small baby because babies are vaccinated until 8 weeks and so they are most at risk.
My GP told me that Whooping Cough used to be know as the 100 day cough because that’s roughly how long it lasts and so I could be feeling the effects of it for another 2-3 months yet – whoopie something to look forward to!! He did give me one piece of advice that I am hoping will help in the dark of the night. There are no cough medicines I can take, cold drinks set me off coughing and warm drinks do little to help either but when I have a coughing spell he has told me to hold my breath for one minute and over a week I should see my coughing spells lessen. Fingers crossed!!!
Facts I have gathered about Whooping Cough;
- It is more common in adults than in children
- Adults do not necessary make the “whooping” noise because their airways are larger than an infants
- It is only a serious illness for infants
- Immunization only lasts for 10 years
- Most patients with whooping cough look well, and can go for hours without coughing, they show no physical signs of illness
- It is dangerous to catch during the last 6 weeks of pregnancy because there is an increased risk of passing it onto your newborn
- There is little you can do to relieve the symptoms
- The vaccination is now being offered to women who are between 28 and 38 weeks of pregnancy