'Whooping' sound is heart-wrenching
October 22nd, 2010
04:49 PM ET

'Whooping' sound is heart-wrenching

The sound of a child with pertussis, or whooping cough, is one of the most heart-wrenching and horrible sounds a parent can hear. It’s a coughing fit that leaves the patient gasping for breath, which is what gives it that “whooping” sound.

Katie Kisil’s 9-year-old-daughter, Payton, is recovering from whooping cough. “It was a constant cough,” said Kisil. “At night, she wasn’t able to sleep. She was just coughing throughout the night,” she said. Payton’s cough was so violent, that she vomited.

Her pediatrician, Dr. Marie Medawar, said although many have been vaccinated, or even if we’ve already had the disease, immunity wanes and it could be contracted again. She said anyone from age 11 on, should get a tetanus/pertusis booster shot - even parents, grandparents and pregnant women, to prevent an infant from contracting the disease.

“Because that’s the highest risk,” Medawar said. “If an infant gets whooping cough, it could be fatal,” she said.

Listen to the Kisils' story:

soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. r

    Again, the DPT vaccine – it can be separated and it can be done in half doses. So, if your child does have any kind of serious reaction there need not be the second half given.

    October 22, 2010 at 20:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. False information

    Half doses of DPT, a common practice during the era of whole cell DPT vaccine, was demonstrated in several studies to reduce the protective immune response without any reduction in serious adverse reactions. Whole cell DTP vaccine had over 3,000 antigens and commonly caused fever and less often an irritable cry and limpness as transient reactions. Reducing these reactions, but not the more serious events, without inducing protective immunity was illogical and never a recommended practice. Whole cell DPT vaccine is no longer available. Acellular DPT has less than 6 antigens and rarely causes more than a slight fever, if that, and soreness. There is no assurance that a child will be immunized by a half dose of vaccine; surprising – there is a reason why the dose used is in fact the dose used. If a child is suspectible to a rare sensitivity to a a vaccine component, doubling the number with half exposures instead might increase the risk of a sensitivity reaction. That would be by analogy (like a child who is at riask for allergy to penicillin) since testing multiple half doses of vaccine on a large number of children, which would not protect the children, would be an unethical research project.

    October 22, 2010 at 22:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Sara

    I have never had the whooping cough, and I don't plan on getting it either.

    October 22, 2010 at 23:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • thor

      It's a great way to shed pounds. I'm doing it for spring.

      October 23, 2010 at 05:12 | Report abuse |
    • jeffers

      Does anyone "plan" on contracting ANY illness? What a head-in'the-sand perspective.

      October 23, 2010 at 22:30 | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      Good call. I got it in high school during a minor outbreak at my school. I got a week off of school, but had coughing spasms for about three months afterwards.

      October 24, 2010 at 00:43 | Report abuse |
    • Daina

      Don't plan on getting it? Offhand I don't think anyone 'plan' on getting any illness unless it's something along the lines of Huntingtons dz & they already know they have inhertited the gene.

      October 24, 2010 at 20:28 | Report abuse |
  4. Anne

    I would be interested in finding out how many of these people affected with pertussis were immunized against it.

    October 23, 2010 at 09:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lynn

      10 years

      October 25, 2010 at 01:29 | Report abuse |
    • Dea2

      my children and I were, my 12 year old came down with a mild case and gave it to me when I was 35, my older child didn't get it. Both of them have had the boosters, I will get mine when my tetanus comes due.

      October 26, 2010 at 17:35 | Report abuse |
  5. Constantine

    still not sure what it sounds like – where does the whoop come from?

    October 23, 2010 at 10:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Pancha

      Read the article. The whooping sound is made when the child struggles to gasp for air between coughs.

      October 23, 2010 at 17:17 | Report abuse |
    • DRDavidd

      The bacteria causes inflammation and swelling in the large and medium sized airways. When the child coughs most of the air leaves the lungs, when they try to take a deep breath, the airway size is reduced even further causing the whoop sound. This is more dangerous in infants because they have smaller diameter airways. Not as big a problem in older kids or adults because of larger airway diameter

      October 23, 2010 at 20:22 | Report abuse |
    • Dea2

      in older children and adults the whoop may not be as pronounced, or even there at all. It's because of the size of the bronchial tubes and lungs. At least that's what the doctor who finally diagnosed me said.

      October 26, 2010 at 17:33 | Report abuse |
  6. Dr. Mama

    The important point here is when some choose not to immunize, it's hazardous for all, and most hazardous for the most vulnerable. Babies at greatest risk are under 6 months old - too young to have completed the 3-part course of the vaccine. All adults and older children who are around tiny babies need boosters. Get yours now.


    October 23, 2010 at 12:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. mikeb1

    It is funny that the histeria caused by a single poorly reasoned study could cause so many otherwise rational people to withold from their children a life saving vaccine, even after the study has been so clearly refuted. People are weird animals.

    October 24, 2010 at 13:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Victoria

      It's funny how many people think it's necessary to pay to get a shot for every single illness there is out there instead of treating the problem and not the symptom. Eat healthy, laugh, and do meditation(all de-stressors that boost immune system) and find a CURE instead of a temporary vaccine

      October 24, 2010 at 19:13 | Report abuse |
    • Amelia

      Victoria is an idiot. Tell a baby to "eat healthy, laugh, and do meditation" and see if that protects them from death from this bacteria.

      October 24, 2010 at 20:42 | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      Watch a loved one's baby die of pertussis at 34 days of age and then come and tell me about how eating right and building an immune system is a better way. We aren't on this planet alone. If we can prevent the death of another person simply by getting immunized, then we have a moral obligation to do so.

      October 25, 2010 at 16:21 | Report abuse |
  8. Caused by what?

    What it's caused by bacteria? Don't we have......wait for it......ANTIBIOTICS!!!!! Oh wait I'm sure they should help eliminate every biotic in your system! No, do one better inject the "bacteria" into your body first, then you'll be protect for 10 yrs, no 4, wait, 2. Better yet every time you need a tetanus shot get it too. Please wake up!

    @Dr. Mama- why are you so scared if you and "your babies" are immunized? Aren't you already protected? It would just be those horrible people who think for themselves and don't inject poison into there bodies that would be at at risk? Hmm......

    October 25, 2010 at 01:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Eric Nicolas

      Antibiotics don't kill all forms of bacterial infection. Immunization is not "injecting poison" – it's a proven method that has been around since the 19th century. Only a negligent parent would withold imunization from their children.

      October 25, 2010 at 05:33 | Report abuse |
    • Really

      It's not poison lets looked at the definition of poison. As defined by dictionary.com:"a substance with an inherent property that tends to destroy life or impair health." or by http://www.merriam-webster.com "a substance that through its chemical action usually kills, injures, or impairs an organism; something destructive or harmful." I'd say it falls under the term poison!

      Vaccines have only proven to cost money and need more drugs for there side effects. If you want them fine but don't try to push your drugs on me or my family. Only a negligent parent would take the word of another person and lobbied organizations in matters concerning their child's health rather than getting educated THEMSELVES on how the body and other organisms really work. Stop getting your science from CNN and Foxnews do some real research take a couple classes, you'll find out how wrong you really are Eric Nicolas.

      October 25, 2010 at 13:18 | Report abuse |
    • Dea2

      and then the bacteria become resistant, need more expensive meds to treat, becomes harder to treat, kills more people, etc. We can go round and round, but vaccinations have been proven to save lives, and usually even when the vaccinated person gets sick, they have a much milder case of the disease. My son was 12 when he gave it to me. He coughed for two weeks and then got better without treatment, I nearly died with treatment. I was 35 at the time. Yes, I will be getting my booster when it's time for my next booster because my immunity from having it will have worn off by then and I may have grandchildren to protect from it.

      October 26, 2010 at 17:29 | Report abuse |
    • Dea2

      oh yeah, some people are deathly allergic to anti-biotics, shall we start a campaign against them too?

      October 26, 2010 at 17:30 | Report abuse |
  9. JT

    Let's go ahead and get immunized for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING bad on this planet.... whatever can make the pharmaceutical industry more wealthy. Sorry, this is agenda pushing at its finest. Oh by the way, as I've typed this, over 150 people around the world have died of starvation or diseases directly related to malnourishment/starvation. But.... no one gives a damn about those people.

    October 26, 2010 at 06:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dea2

      they would rather not have to make vaccines. they lose money on them, and treating the disease itself is a much bigger money maker with anti-biotics, cough suppressants, pain relievers, etc

      October 26, 2010 at 17:24 | Report abuse |
  10. Horace

    whooping cough smooping cough

    October 26, 2010 at 15:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dea2

      i nearly died from it, clots in my lungs and cracked ribs, four months of coughing, two months of no voice. I hope no one you love catches it, but I wouldn't mind you getting a small taste of it.

      October 26, 2010 at 17:22 | Report abuse |
  11. Carla

    Seriously? Vaccines and immunizations are not a Government conspiracy. The pertussis vaccine was developed because concerned Dr's were trying to minimize childhood and infant moratality many decaeds ago and long before the manufacturers made a mint on medicine. If the parent has not had a booster in the last 5 years there is no immunity. It's tough to diagnose and often anti-biotics are often administered too late or just don't work in time. These are infants under 8 weeks of age in most cases – it's highly infectious and easily preventable. You don't have to believe the article, ask your personal physician. It's important – not only are you putting your choild at risk, but mine and everyone elses.

    October 26, 2010 at 15:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Dea2

    pertussis is no joke- when I had it in 05 I cracked a rib from coughing and it hurt so bad that I had to use both arms to brace myself for coughing fits. I got yelled at for not covering my mouth sometimes- luckily for my coworkers I had taken the anti-biotics early on so I wasn't contagious, but that cough- OMG I wanted to just die from the pain...

    October 26, 2010 at 17:18 | Report abuse | Reply
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