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Whooping Cough Increasing Among Teens

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While whooping cough is rarely life threatening in teens and young adults, spasmodic coughing fits often last for months and can dramatically impact daily life. Outbreaks occur rapidly as a result of being exposed to an infected person.

Zach Graham, who lives in New Hampshire and is a competitive downhill skier, says it took him almost five months to feel normal again after his bout with whooping cough. Early on, his mom says, he had coughing fits that led to vomiting as many as 18 times a day. And even after the racking coughing subsided, lingering weakness caused him to miss much of the ski season.

"My goal was to be on the Junior Olympic team," says Zach, who is now 16. "My coaches and I agreed that I could do it if I set my mind to it, but then I came down with whooping cough. It took so much out of me that there was no way I could train at the level I needed to."


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