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Jan 24

The Difference Between Whooping Cough & Croup

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One of the scariest phrases for a mom to hear is ‘your child has whooping cough’. We are trained to hear the phrase whooping cough (Pertussis) and think of a life threatening infection for babies. At least for me, whooping cough is something I never wanted to hear while Michael was less than a year old. I made sure he was on schedule with his DTaP vaccinations and was thankful he was a pretty healthy kid.

And then this happened…

Now, I’m not a paranoid mom, grandma and daddy Michael do enough worrying as it is, so I don’t take Michael into the doctor when he has a cough. All they are going to do is make me pay $30 to find out he has a cold and there isn’t anything they can do about it. No thank you. I thought for SURE his cough and lack of appetite was due to him having a cold. ‘Tis the season, right? WRONG!

Michael is 18 months old so I chalked up his behavioral changes to him learning new emotions. (I have an ass backwards way of justifying everything.) That is, until they got worse. He is usually a slap happy, ticklish fool at bedtime! He is so precious at bedtime, no matter how frustrated he makes me during the day… just precious. When we laid him down for bed on day 1 his face scrunched into a whimper and quiet tears started rolling down his face. It was the ultimate heartbreaking moment.

Screams = Pissed & Whimpers = Pain

I listened to him cough all night long and I begged the Twitter Gods to let my baby wake up healthy. PLEASE wake up healthy! His cough got worse throughout the night until he woke up and scared away his aunt and 2 month old cousin. (Thank goodness they went away! It pains me to know she was over here during stage 1 of his whooping cough.)

Motherhood has been an exercise in guilt. -Felicity Huffman 

I couldn’t believe my eyes when my 34 pound child refused to eat or drink! I tried all of his favorites: fruit pouches, bananas, clementines, etc. The only noteworthy food he consumed all day was a can of fruit cocktail. (For goodness sake, tell me what is wrong!)

Michael had recently started coming up to me and laying his head in my lap so I could rub his back and/or stroke his head. OK? It blew my mind a little bit because it was a sad visit and he was seeking comfort from me. Interesting… it turns out his sad puppy visits coincided with him being in stage 1 of Pertussis. (I sure suck at this whole reading my child thing.)

I put him down for his nap today, day 2 of the BAD cough, as he quietly whimpered and looked up at me with his sad eyes. All I could do was rub his cheek and tell him it was going to be OK. What else is a mom supposed to do? His eyes were pleading with me to make him feel better and I could feel him asking me if I got that mom superhero power. :(

Sad toddler with whooping cough

Cellphone + no lights = bad picture

He coughed his whole nap and woke up with a vengeance! He was screaming, crying, and coughing all at the same time. It was awful! He kept gasping for air as the snot poured out of his nose and rolled down his face. The Boogie Wipes weren’t able to keep up with his fountain of a nose. Then he started rolling around on the floor coughing and at that moment I felt totally helpless. I had NEVER seen him like this! One of my girlfriends told me to give him a bath so I grabbed the finger paint and to the tub we went!

Playing with finger paints in the bathtub while trying to help his whooping cough

The tub helped decrease the intensity of the cough, however, this was the point where I realized it couldn’t be a cold. Off to the doctor we went! The fact that I am a blogging mom and I took a video of his coughing helped tremendously because he wasn’t coughing bad for the doctor. I showed her the video and she mentioned the possibility of croup or whooping cough. (OK, there isn’t much you can do for croup, and whooping cough is scary. Let’s just go with croup. Croup sounds good to me.) As she hands me the Zithromax script, she mentions it won’t be life threatening because he has had his DTaP shots. (Umm… what did you just say to me???)  

I realized taking him to the doctor was the right decision when he whimpered with his sad puppy eyes at bedtime tonight. My advice, whatever it is worth to you guys, is to watch for behavioral changes along side any cold symptoms. The perk to being a WAHM is knowing my child’s personality, even if I suck at it, better than anyone else. It might take me a moment to open up my eyes and realize the connection, but I eventually figure things out.

What is Whooping Cough (Pertussis)?

According to the CDC- Pertussis is known for uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe. After fits of many coughs, someone with pertussis often needs to take deep breathes which result in a “whooping” sound. Pertussis most commonly affects infants and young children and can be fatal, especially in babies less than 1 year of age.

What does Whooping Cough Sound Like?

Here is a link to an audio snippet of someone with whooping cough.

What is Croup?

According to WebMD- Croup is a common respiratory  problem in young children. It tends to occur in the fall and winter. Its main symptom is a harsh, barking cough. Croup causes swelling and narrowing in the voice box, windpipe, and breathing tubes that lead to the lungs. This can make it hard for your child to breathe.

What is the Difference Between Croup & Whooping Cough?

According to Croup-Cough- Whooping is characterized by continuous coughing till the lungs are emptied and then inhalation with a ‘whoop’ sound or gasp. This is where the primary difference can be noticed between the two: the sound. Croup is hoarse seal-like bark whereas whooping cough has a high pitched gasping sound.

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About the author

Mallery

My name is Mallery and I am a recovering workaholic. I curse like a sailor. I'm a mix of obsessive and awkward. I talk about bowel habits more than I should and I enjoy wine, gaming, and tattoos.

14 comments

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  1. Jeana

    Very informative post – thank you for sharing your experience with us!
    Jeana recently posted..Getting to Know Kathryn Beaumont, Peter Pan’s WendyMy Profile

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  2. Jillian

    Holy Schniekies!! I didn’t realize all the other stuff and that his demeanor had totally changed. Definitely the right move going to the doc. You’re a good mommy :)
    Jillian recently posted..The Cutest Dominoes for Kids – Janod Kubix PenguinsMy Profile

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  3. Shanaka @ Mama Bee Does

    Poor little guy. I’m thankful for being a WAHM too, to be with my kids everyday so I can pick up on changes like that.
    Shanaka @ Mama Bee Does recently posted..$100 in Target gift cards giveaway from Coupon Chief #missiongiveawayMy Profile

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  4. Cinny

    I’m glad you took him to the doctor, hope he’s doing better.
    Cinny recently posted..Finding My Faith? Regaining My Faith? #ChickenSoupMy Profile

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  5. Jess

    Poor guy! Good thing you got him to the doctor, and the video was smart! It never fails that when I go to the doctor sick as a dog I get white coat syndrome and seem totally fine :)
    Jess recently posted..Keeping Baby Entertained – Nuby Flip Flop Teether BookMy Profile

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    Mallery Reply:

    White coat syndrome, lol! I took a picture of his busted ear drum and it helped make my case when I took him to the doctor for it and he was acting fine.

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  6. Susan

    This was very informative, and I will be sure to be on the lookout thank for this information.

    [Reply]

  7. Amanda

    I am so sorry you had to go through that. It is scary when little ones are sick!
    Amanda recently posted..Coconut-Lemon DIY Sugar ScrubMy Profile

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  8. Joyce@MommyTalkShow

    Please don’t beat yourself up for not taking him to the doctor sooner.
    I have that dilemma every time my son comes down with something.
    Interestingly, his symptoms usually disappear by the time we get in front of his pediatrician.
    Joyce@MommyTalkShow recently posted..How to Organize Coupons with the Coupon Clip and FileMy Profile

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  9. Summer Davis

    OH MY GOSH, Mallery! I’m in tears over here! And I am literally gasping for breath for little Michael! Sending you tons and tons of hugs! And lots of healing breaths for little Michael. I am not generally a nervous or anxious person, but I would be an absolute wrecking ball if I knew one of my kids had Pertussis.

    AH! I’m having a glass of red Zin for you right now. Bottoms up!
    Summer Davis recently posted..Top Valentine Gifts for your Paleo Prince or PrincessMy Profile

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  10. Kathleen Kennedy-Leon

    Wow, I hope your son is doing better now. I don’t blame you for being so nervous–who wouldn’t be and don’t beat yourself up. thanks for bringing awareness to the issue.
    Kathleen Kennedy-Leon recently posted..geraldine kennedy commented on the post, Met Bill Braukman Monster Truck Jam Driver of Shock WaveMy Profile

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  11. Sandy Jenney

    Glad you got him in. Yes.. pertussis is nothing to mess with. After working in peds for 30 years, I’ve seen enough to alway encourage vaccines.
    Sandy Jenney recently posted..Exercise Tools – Nike FuelBand vs FitBitMy Profile

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  12. Jayna

    Aww poor little guy, I hope he gets to feeling better… I can totally relate to your mommy woes!
    Jayna recently posted..Is it a notebook or a tablet? It’s both! Introducing the amazing Lenovo YogaMy Profile

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  13. JanetGoingCrazy

    Poor baby! Benjamin had Croup once and it sounds horrible! He only had to cough once and sound like a seal and we were at the doctor’s office. I hope he’s feeling better now!
    JanetGoingCrazy recently posted..{Dallas, Houston, Austin} Texas Pride and Football! NFL Stars Meet & Greet at select Sam’s Clubs this weekend!My Profile

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