Whooping cough patient talks to Channel 3 - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Whooping cough patient talks to Channel 3

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -- Sharon Dorough is quarantined inside her Signal Mountain home. She talked with Channel 3 Eyewitness News by phone Thursday.

"I just thought it was simply just another round of my allergies," Dorough explains. A couple days ago she visited the Chattanooga Allergy Clinic but it turns out she didn't have allergies.

"My initial symptoms were simply, I had a runny nose and after a few days my throat got raw and I started coughing a little bit," says Dorough.

Dorough was diagnosed with whooping cough, she spent the next 24 hours contacting everyone she may have spread the illness too including members of her church choir and a visiting family with a 7 and 2-year-old.

"I had to call them in Tupelo to give them a heads up in case any of them started having symptoms," Dorough says.

She also had to register with the Hamilton and Sequatchie County Health Departments. "They want to find other patients that may have been exposed, start treating them beforehand. Once you treat it it lowers the risk of giving it to other people and becoming a huge community problem," explains Dr. Todd Levin.

Dorough is now one of a growing number of whooping cough cases in Hamilton County. "Last I heard there were 21 cases and that was at the end of August. Typically in the whole year we'll have five to ten so it's much higher," Levin says.

However, Levin says there's no need to panic but if you think your symptoms are more than allergies get checked out by a doctor.

Children and infants are most at risk for whooping cough. A series of vaccines during childhood help prevent them from getting sick and adults are urged to get the TDAP vaccine as well as a booster shot every ten years. However, doctors say it's not always 100 percent.

Dorough says she received the vaccines as a child and had her last tetanus booster shot in 2003.

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