Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do I just have allergies or whooping cough?"
The last two weeks I've had a cough that won't go away. I have seasonal allergies so I think its just from mucous draining into my chest, but I'm worried about whooping cough after I saw a news story about it. Could I have caught this? How does someone get whooping cough?
Cough such as the one you have could be caused by many different problems. The two problems you mentioned, allergies and whooping cough, are on the list. Of the people that present to my clinic with a cough for two weeks, the likelihood that it is whooping cough is extremely unlikely. Whooping cough is caused by a bacteria that infects the upper respiratory tract. People feel like they have a really bad cold for a couple weeks. After words, a horrible cough begins which can last up to six months. We get immunized against the bacteria that causes whooping cough, pertussis, when we are kids. However, this immunity can go away over time. Allergies can cause drainage that comes from the nose and drips down into the back of the throat. This can cause a cough especially when someone lies down. Allergic cough like this usually responds to an antihistamine medication that can be prescribed by your doctor. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can take a more detailed history of your symptoms and perform a thorough lung exam. From there, you will likely get placed on an appropriate medication for the most likely cause of your cough.
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