NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) –You probably think of whooping cough as a kid’s sickness that was eliminated decades ago by a childhood vaccine.
But there has been a resurgence of adult whooping cough in past years, with 30,000 new cases reported each year, reported TV 10-55’s Katie McGee.
Debra Glor said she thought she was suffering from a mild cough caused by routine allergies. But when the cough worsened and started to disrupt her sleep, she decided to see her doctor.
“I was totally shocked, and it started out so calm. I actually went away for the weekend, but this first night I started getting this dry tickle-y cough and I thought, oh, maybe its allergies,” said Glor.
That’s when she was diagnosed with whooping cough, and treated with antibiotics.
Matt Devine of Highland Family Medicine says that Glor’s story is increasingly common among U.S. adults.
“Now we’re seeing people more with these textbook whooping-type coughs,” said Devine.
Devine cautioned that anyone older than a pre-teen may be at risk for contracting whooping cough because original vaccine protection has likely worn off.
He said the risk of contracting whooping cough is especially high for adults, who have a weaker immune system and were vaccinated long ago.
Devine also said he believed there was a simple fix: A booster shot.
“If we could get everybody to show up like people do for the flu shots than we could get rid of this,” he said.
And though a round of antibiotics can usually get rid of whooping cough, prevention through vaccination is much safer.
The vaccine and updated booster is especially important for pregnant women because they can transmit whooping cough bacteria to their babies who don’t yet have a mature immune system or the power of a vaccine to fight of the germ.
Glor says she’s feeling better, but implores others to visit their doctors for a cough that won’t go away. Awareness, she says, is key.
“I just thought it was a disease for children. I think most people thought that,” Glor said.
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