[quote="GoneAstray, post:1, topic:258751"]
I was at Mass a couple weeks ago and a woman down the pew from me had a really bad cold. To the point, she was using an entire box of kleenex and coughing continuously.
I made a really big deal about this even posting a rant on our pastor's blog.
So sure enough, I get a cold. I stayed home last Sunday although I think I was past the contagious stage because I still had symptoms.
The symptoms got worse and I went back to the doctor who said I may have adult whooping cough (pertussis) because I am having coughing fits that last for several minutes. I googled pertussis and it is contagious until symptoms are gone.
I would really like to go to Mass this weekend but there are a lot of elderly people. Not that I want to make anyone sick but I sure don't want to kill someone. But I have no faith in doctors and I'm not sure this isn't just bronchitis brought on by the cold. If it was, I wouldn't be contagious at this point. I probably could even not cough for an hour or so.
Should I stay home or not?
Did your doctor do any lab testing for pertussis? Ask if a Pertussis PCR was performed--this test is the current "best test."
Chances are good that your doctor diagnosed you on the basis of your cough. There is a distinctive cough that pertussis patients have, hence the name "whooping" cough. Your doctor is smart to consider this diagnosis and not just assume that you have seasonal allergies or a "cold."
Stay home from Mass. Don't take any chances. Pertussis is a very serious illness and can be fatal if contracted by infants, children, and the elderly.
As you know, it has become more common for parents to refuse vaccinations for their babies and children, due to fears about autism and continued rumors that the vaccines are made from ground-up fetuses.
This means that there are infants and children who are immunologically unprotected against pertussis, and if exposed, WILL contract the illness and be at risk of dying.
As for the elderly, many of them (as well as those of us in middle age) were vaccinated, but over the years, the protection given by the vaccine fades, and we are at risk, too.
So please, for the sake of those who have no immunological protection, stay home and pray.
As for the woman who was sick, it is possible that she didn't have something contagious. She may have been suffering from seasonal allergies (really bad in the autumn season), or she may have a really severe "smoker's cough," which can literally sound like the person is hacking up a lung. GIve her the benefit of the doubt, although I agree with you that anyone who is coughing that hard and that often should stay home from Mass, or at least leave the nave and go outside if they are siezed with a coughing spasm during Mass. But perhaps if she is a smoker, or has allergies, she has gotten accustomed to coughing as a permanent lifestyle and truly has no idea how awful she sounds to everyone else.