Pertussis, the “90 day cough,” is problematic. In those older than 2 years, it only responds to treatment with antibiotics in the first 5 days of infection, up to 14 days if you read some sources who readily admit they are stretching the treatment window. From Hopkins: “However, once the paroxysmal stage has begun, antimicrobial therapy has
little effect on the course of illness and is indicated primarily to
limit the spread of the organism to others. Patients are no longer
infectious after 5 days of therapy.” Similarly,”According to the 2001 guidelines of the American College of Physicians for the treatment of uncomplicated acute bronchitis, antibiotic treatment is “not recommended, regardless of duration of cough.”
I’m an adult (47) and just got diagnosed with pertussis and am taking antibiotics. I just wanted to add that the antibiotics really helped! I still sound the same, but my throat feels much much better; I had the “tickle” in the throat that is listed as a symptom (which I think contributes to the gagging and throwing up people get!), in my case I thought maybe I had a feather lodged in my throat, so “tickle” it was not! That symptom which had been there a week, was gone almost 100% within maybe 20 hours of being on the antibiotic. I’m not all clear of the cough, so obviously I’m hoping my healing trajectory will continue. I just wanted to say I felt the antibiotics were extremely helpful and I’m so glad I didn’t wait any longer. Also, of course I do not want to be contagious to anyone else. There are sometimes when I’m so grateful for western medicine, this was one time. I’m also using peppermint, eucalyptus, and tea tree oil, which really helps a lot. For a kid it might sting so a lot of carrier oil would be great. Also I’ve been drinking throat comfort herbal tea, which really helps keep the cough calm. Thanks for the article!