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In Which the Taylers are Disease Vectors

The Tayler house is officially a quarantine zone. The urgent care physician agrees with my diagnosis of Whooping Cough (pertussis). We are awaiting lab confirmation, but we have classic symptoms including the whooping sound with coughing. We are all fully immunized, we have it anyway.

If you have been in contact with any of my family in the last few weeks, particularly if they coughed near you. I am really sorry. And if you start to feel congested or have a cough, please go to your doctor and ask for Azythromyacin antibiotics. If you catch it early, you will not have to endure 6-10 weeks of horrible coughing. You’ll just get better quickly.

This has been my public health apology and notification for today.

This whole process has been somewhat frustrating for me because I suspected whooping cough last week. The minute I started coughing I knew the cough was not a standard cold. But I can’t go back and un-make any decisions. The best I can do is make sure that I appropriately notify everyone who may have come into contact with us.

Gleek is well into the recovery phase. She was the first to cough and got off relatively lightly. Her cough never got very bad and would have remained undiagnosed except for the rest of us. Patch has developed the classic whoop sound. Mostly he’s fine except for the 15-20 times per day when he’s struck with a coughing fit. Link has it worst. He’s exhausted, running a low-grade fever, and coughing to the point of vomiting once or twice per hour. I feel relatively fine except when I get a coughing fit. Then I gasp and whoop just like Patch. Howard is just starting to feel the beginnings of a cough, which means an application of antibiotics should help him skip the worst of it. Kiki was home about a week ago, but has yet to exhibit any symptoms. If she does, we’ll immediately start antibiotics for her. Patch and Link both missed a week of school last week and they’re likely to miss all of next week as well.

This whole whooping cough experience has been frustrating and depressing. I do feel some vindication at the confirmation of my diagnosis, but I would much rather have not dealt with this. I would like to be done with it, but prognosis is that we’ll have coughing in our house for several weeks more.

In related news, I will not be participating in the Month of Letters challenge this year. It is a wonderful thing. I’ve done it the last two years and I highly recommend it. But it does not seem wise nor kind to deliberately send physical objects out of an infectious zone. No paper letters will be leaving my house until I’m certain we’re no longer contagious.

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6 comments to In Which the Taylers are Disease Vectors

  • Lesley

    So I’m guessing you don’t believe in vaccinations?

    • Up there in the first paragraph I clearly state that we are fully vaccinated. I do believe in vaccinations. We all have them up to date. We’ve got it anyway.

      I’ve heard two theories for why fully-vaccinated people catch whooping cough,
      1. vaccination for pertussis is not like other immunizations. It does not grant immunity. It just decreases the likelihood that you’ll contract the disease. The more people who are in a population who are not vaccinated, the more likely it is that the community will have an outbreak where even vaccinated people catch the disease.

      2. There is a general rise of pertussis outbreaks across the country. Some scientists posit that there is a new strain of the disease that is not fully covered by vaccination.

      I have many guilty feelings about the ways I’ve handled this sickness relating to whom we may have exposed. But no it is not my fault for failing to vaccinate. As soon as I suspected pertussis, I went and checked our records. Gleek was re-vaccinated less than a year ago and she caught it first.

  • Blech. I’m so sorry, especially since you *should* have been covered. That sounds awful. Get better soon!

  • Martin Bonner

    “We are all fully immunized, we have it anyway.” – Yuck! That sounds like a whole heap of no fun at all.

    Any idea where it came from? (and no, I don’t expect you to post more than “yes” – at most – on the Internet!)

    General rise in pertussis outbreaks – my current favourite theory is that more parents have no experience of how unpleasant it is, so are skipping vaccinations. That reduces herd immunity, so outbreaks become more common. (My sister depends on herd immunity for some immunizations because she reacted to one, and our GP grandfather advised no more.) A new variety would be very much worse news.

    • About two weeks ago the junior high school sent home an official letter that there was a lab confirmed case in their school. Our junior high student was the first one who had a cough. It came from there.

  • Hannah

    My kids have been coughing forever it seems. On and off for about two months now with various Dr visits mixed in. But rarely actually seeming to be very sick. I don’t know that I’d recognize Whooping cough. =( Am debating when to head back to the Dr.

    Another theory that I’ve heard is that adults who’s immunization has faded without a booster act as an undiagnosed reservoir for the illness. Which if the case is mild I can see happening on accident. Chicken Pox showed up at our school and all of mine came down with it despite their immunizations.