A whooping cough (also known as pertussis or a 100-day cough) is a highly contagious bacterial disease. Initially, symptoms are usually similar to those of the common cold with a runny nose, fever, and mild cough. This is followed by weeks of severe coughing fits. Following a fit of coughing, a high-pitched whoop sound or gasp may occur as the person breathes in. The coughing may last for 10 or more weeks, hence the phrase “A 100-day cough”. A person may cough so hard that they vomit, break ribs, or become very tired from the effort. Children less than one-year-old may have little or no cough and instead, have periods where they do not breathe. The time between infection and the onset of symptoms is usually seven to ten days. The disease may occur in those who have been vaccinated, but symptoms are typically milder.
Pertussis is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. It is an airborne disease which spreads easily through the coughs and sneezes of an infected person. People are infectious from the start of symptoms until about three weeks into the coughing fits. Those treated with antibiotics are no longer infectious after five days. Diagnosis is by collecting a sample from the back of the nose and throat. This sample can then be tested by either culture or by polymerase chain reaction. 
FIRST STAGE: Lasts 3 – 7 days and consists of a runny nose, sneezing, slight fever, and a cough which is worse at night. Comes in spasms, and becomes progressively stronger.
SECOND STAGE: Coughs are so close together the child cannot draw another breath and appears to be suffocating. The air is then sucked in with such a force that it produces the characteristic whoop. After several spasms (lasting 2 – 3 minutes) the child perspires, brings up some thick, slimy mucous and may vomit food. This leaves the child exhausted and frightened but he/she recovers and can be quite happy between attacks. There may be 40 – 50 attacks daily. Young infants and immunised children who develop whooping cough may have all the symptoms without the whoop.
Infants younger than 18 months need constant supervision because their breathing may temporarily stop during coughing spells. Infants with severe cases should be hospitalized.
An oxygen tent with high humidity may be used.
SEASON: Common Spring and Autumn.
AGE: Under 5
INCUBATION PERIOD: 7 – 14 Days.
ISOLATION PERIOD: For three weeks from the date of onset of the typical spasms.
RECOVERY TIME: Mild cases with no whoop: 7 – 10 days. More serious cases can last from three weeks to two months.
COMPLICATIONS: Pneumonia, convulsions and measles – all of which, in combination with a whooping cough, are very serious; also dehydration, malnutrition and blood nose.
We use various naturopathic principles to treat the cause and look for the disharmony in your body and mind to bring your body back to balance. Please see below a brief treatment (Rx) protocol and reference guide, with choices to help improve your health and wellbeing. Click on the headings and links within for more treatment information.
- SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE – highly contagious and should be reported to your doctor as soon as possible.
- Keep Hydrated – give fluids! Fresh homemade fruit, vegetable juices and broths. Overloading the stomach with food is to be avoided.
- Avoid cold draughts.
- Keep warm and well rested. Be prepared for vomiting.
- Use essential oils in vapouriser in the child's bedroom. Eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, etc.
- Reassure child during spasms; support.
- BUILD RESISTANCE – strengthen the immune system. Breastfeed as long as possible to build natural immunity. Introduce health food one at a time to your baby. Avoid food and food groups that are known allergens. See nutritional medicine and food sensitivity testing.
HERBAL MEDICINE is beneficial in treating this condition. Below is some herbal medicines that your professional medical herbalist may prescribe.
- Thyme – helps reduce the viscosity of muc0us, improves clearing of excess mucous and has antibacterial actions
- Wild Cherry – helps reduce the frequency and severity of coughing
- Mullein – reduces mucous production soothes mucous membranes of the respiratory tract and helps reduce viscosity of mucous and improve mucous clearance
- Perlargonium – for immune support with antibacterial actions
- Echinacea – for immune support, pain relief, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory actions
- Garlic – helps decrease viscosity mucous, supports immune function and has antibacterial actions
- Golden Seal – helps restore mucous membrane function and has antimicrobial actions
- Euphorbia – for congestion and spasms of the respiratory tract, helps reduce viscosity of mucous and improves clearing of excess mucous
- White Horehound – helps reduce viscosity of mucous and improves clearing of excess mucous
If you are experiencing these conditions, I can guide you into wellness – BOOK NOW for a Naturopathic Consultation.
Below is a quick reference guide for low potency (1x – 30C) homoeopathic remedies safe for home prescribing. Make an appointment for a professional consultation and prescription for more information.
Worse from drinking and eating, cries before a cough and vomits large amounts of mucous. Nausea with a cold sweat. White coated tongue. Use to treat the post-fever stage of whooping cough if the patient has a wet, rattling cough.
For an acute fever that accompanies the disease. Stomach pain and tears before spasm. A dry throat coughs until mucous comes up, excited by tickling in the throat. Cries before cough starts.
Must sit up to cough. Coughing and vomiting occur during a meal, yet the child can return easily to finish the meal.
Carbo Veg 30 C:
When the child is absolutely worn out, pale and exhausted from the disease.
Cuprum 30 c:
For convulsions following a coughing spasm.
A barking cough so frequent that the child chokes. The raising of phlegm end in retching and vomiting. Use if the symptoms are worse after midnight.
For coughing that induces vomiting and gagging. Nausea better from vomiting. Stiff and blue during spasms, with difficult breathing. Copious discharge and perspiration. Exhausted after an attack.
Use if the patient is exhausted from coughing.
Use if the patent is suffering from barking coughs.
Pertussin 200 c (Nosode): (Prescribed only by a qualified professional homoeopath)
To help clear severe case or for lingering after-effects of the disease. Do not give whilst disease is incubation. There are several whooping cough type viruses. Pertussin may not be the most appropriate remedy. so seek the guidance of a skilled professional homoeopath.
Nutritional Medicine Rx
Use Food as Medicine! Nourish your body and mind with fresh seasonal, whole foods. Clean unprocessed & unadulterated foods like nature intended. Support a back to the basic natural approach to eating. Visit your local farmer markets and buy organic produce where possible. Go vegetable crazy! Love your greens.
Food Sensitivity Testing is an easy way to take the guess work out of what may be contributing to you feeling unwell, suffering digestive problems, inflammation, bloating, skin conditions, asthma etc. A whole food natural diet is excellent to follow but what some people don’t realise is one man's food can be another man’s poison. Give your digestive tract a break and feed your body with food that heals. A stressed and inflamed digestive tract (gut) suffering dysbiosis needs help to build up a good microbiome balance. It is not only important for your ability to absorb and utilise nutrients but your gut health and immune system are inextricably linked. Seventy to eighty percent of your immune tissue is located within your digestive system and ninety percent of serotonin is made in the digestive tract. Serotonin is a key player in mood, anxiety, fear, and the general sense of happiness and wellbeing.
The intestinal microbiota (gut flora) helps in proper development of the host immune system, which in turn regulates the homeostasis of the microbiota. Good nutrition promoting good gut health microbiome promotes a healthy immune system.
The gastrointestinal tract is also sensitive to emotion. A troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut. Therefore, a person's stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression.
Don’t diet! Listen to your body. Eat mindfully in a relaxed environment and choose quality, not quantity. Enjoy fuelling your body and treating it well.
Flower Essence Rx
- Bach Flower Essences
- Australian Flower Essences
Lifestyle Medicine Rx
Exercise and Fitness Management:Select an exercise activity or sport you enjoy. Choose something that works for you and aim for the 80/20 % approach and always listen to your body.
- Walking is a wonderful activity for all ages, shapes and sizes.
- Build up slowly but aim for 10,000 steps a day.
- I recommend investing in a motivational health monitor like ‘Fitbit’ and or an app like ‘MyFitnessPal’ to motivate you to have a go and strive to improve your fitness and maintain a healthy weight.
Hydration:Aim for 2 – 4 litres of clean, filtered water a day. One of the easiest ways to improve your health is to stay hydrated as your body is made up of 60% water and it needed by every cell of the body. Sugar, Salt and Coffee is dehydrating for the body. Often if you feel thirsty this is an early sign of dehydration. Make it a habit and drink throughout the day. Benefits include:
- Natural Detox – a naturally hydrated body purges the cells, eliminating stored toxins and bodily wastes.
- Digestion and Elimination – eliminates constipation, boating and helps improve general digestive disorders.
- Speeds Metabolism and helps with weight loss.
- Combats Fatigue – water is an important source of energy for your body.
- Reduces High Blood Pressure and Lowers Cholesterol.
- Speeds up Joint and Cartilage repair.
- Skin Health – improves Acne, Dermatitis, Eczema, Psoriasis and Premature Skin Ageing.
- Slows the Ageing Process.
- Aim for 7 – 8 hours quality sleep.
- Turn off all electronic devices and avoid technology and hour before bed as this allows your brain to switch off and make it easier to fall asleep.
- Keep your bedroom just for sleeping & loving. Fresh Air – open a window. Light can make or break a good sleep cycle. Darken your room as much as possible.
- Don’t eat late in the night. Avoid caffeine and stimulants.
- Set your alarm to get to bed and wake at the same time every day.
- Night Cap: – Drink a warm lemon drink, herbal green tea or Golden Milk (Almond & Coconut Milk with beneficial spices) – “Turmeric Latte”, before bed.
- Create a nice environment with indoor plants, aromatherapy diffuser, soft relaxing music and anything that helps you promote a routine to wind yourself down to get much-needed sleep.