Texas (KXAN) - Texas health officials say they're seeing one of the worst outbreaks of whooping cough in decades.
So far this year, State Health Services reports almost 2,000 Texans have contracted the bacterial infection, pertussis. They expect the state to surpass the most recent high of 3,300 cases back in 2009.
The diseases can deadly for the very young.
A teenager from Dripping Springs, TX, who knows just what the persistent coughing spells feel like, talked to KXAN about dealing with whooping cough.
Spend some time with 13-year-old Faith Elliott, and you'll know right away, the 8th grader has her hand in just about everything.
"I raise chickens, and I play basketball, and piano, and I'm also a percussionist at school," said Elliott.
She came down with a painful, persistent cough last school year, knocking her off her feet.
"It was just rough," Elliott said, "It hurts, and it's just--icky."
Elliott found out she had whooping cough. The bacterial infection kept her out of commission for about two weeks.
"Her coughing was getting to where she would lose her breath," said Faith's mom, Bridget Elliott.
Mom put work on hold to take care of Faith: antibiotics for 10 days, no school, and lots of water.
"At first it really didn't cross my mind that it would be whooping cough," Mrs. Elliott said, "For one, I thought that was was something they got rid of when I was a kid, and I've always heard that when you cough it makes a whooping sound. Faith wasn't doing that. She was just coughing a lot."
Sunday mom and daughter worked on a baking project for Faith's girl scout troop. Oh yeah, she does that, too!
Faith is happy being the busy, active--and healthy--teen she is today.
Whooping cough can start simple, with a mild cough, but become much worse.
The violent coughing especially affects children. It can go on for weeks, leaving them gasping for air. In fact, babies may be in such a need for oxygen that their skin turns blue.
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