Whooping Cough: Your stories

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Media captionGemma Price talks about finding out her daughter Zoe had whooping cough

Hundreds of thousands of pregnant women across the UK are to be offered a whooping cough vaccine to protect babies from an escalating outbreak of the disease.

Very young babies are at the greatest risk of serious complications. The injection, available from Monday, should boost a mother's defences, which are then passed onto the baby.

Here, BBC News website users share their experiences of the disease and of trying to get treatment for it.

Leanne Parish, Basingstoke

I was six-and-a-half-months pregnant when I had whooping cough. It was difficult to get a diagnosis as I was told it is quite rare. I had to wait three weeks after a blood test to have it confirmed.

It was horrendous, I couldn't sleep for two weeks. My husband had it as well, we think he caught it from someone at work who didn't stay home. Who can afford to take three weeks off for a cough?

I've had a course of antibiotics, which doesn't get rid of it but stops it being contagious. I'm worried about whether this means that my newborn will be protected as I'm now at the end of my pregnancy.

You appear fine between the coughing fits. I feel fine in myself, but you can wake up feeling like you're choking when you have a fit in the night.

I feel like I've missed out on the vaccine and that it's a bit late for doctors to be containing it.

Kelly Holmes, Selby

I think its fantastic that this vaccine is being offered, however I have just rung my GP surgery and been told they have received no information about this and are unable to offer the vaccine until they do.

I am nearly 37 weeks pregnant and would really like to have this vaccine, but if I need to have it before 38 weeks that doesn't give me much time. I'm very pro-vaccination and really want to get it done as this baby is in an at-risk group.

The surgery seemed to have only found out from people calling up about it having seen the news. The impression was they were waiting to be told what to do.

They didn't seem very proactive - they didn't even take my name and said they'd be contacting people generally. It's frustrating and worrying.

I have an obstetrics appointment on Monday, so I'm going to ask them about it and will probably go down the route of getting it from the hospital.

It's my third child, so it's more worrying as the others are at school and nursery. That means the baby will be at higher risk simply from going down to pick up the others, as other children will want to see the baby, and it is more likely to come into contact with it.

Jeni Lewthwaite, Dorking

I've had whooping cough for around 13 weeks now. I've not had any guidance from my doctor on how long it will take to go, but it definitely feels like it's on the way out now. I've looked it up and they call it the "100-day cough".

I initially went to see the doctor two weeks after the coughing started. My doctor was very reluctant and claimed it wouldn't be whooping cough as it was very rare.

Even though I presented with the distinctive "whooping" noise and informed them that I had a choking cough, which had caused vomiting and on occasions a loss of consciousness, they insisted that it was a "chest infection", and I would just have to wait it out.

I went back after nine weeks, having found out more about it, including that there was a rise in cases, from BBC News.

It was eventually confirmed, after suffering for 10-11 weeks, with a positive blood test. That took two and a half weeks to get the result, which seems like a long time for a notifiable disease.

I've been at work almost throughout the illness, only taking a few days off when it was at its worst. The problem was that I was experiencing the symptoms in the morning and evening at home, so it was very difficult to convince work. If I hadn't had it, I would have probably said: "It's only a cough," as well.

I've had to start using the train as I've been terrified that I'll have a coughing fit while driving. It's so severe that once it starts, you can't do anything. I'm an adult who understands what is going on, so it must be terrifying for a child who doesn't.

I have friends that are suffering, most likely from contact with me, and even though they are reporting to their doctor that they have been in contact with a confirmed case, they are still being ignored. No wonder there is an outbreak if it is not being diagnosed correctly.

Interviews by Alex Murray

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