Whooping cough or pertusis as it is medically known a highly infectious bacterial disease caused by Bordetella pertusis. Anybody who has neither had, nor been immunized against, whooping cough can catch it. The disease is spread by droplets of bacteria that are in the air. The bacteria settle in the mucus lining of respiratory tract, causing inflammation and production of a thick, sticky mucus.
Stages of whooping cough
- Proderomal stage – begins with nonspecific cold like symptoms that progress to a cough.
- Paroxysmal stage – frequent, violent coughing attacks that cause the patient to gasp for breath, resulting in the characteristic sound for which the disease received its name whooping cough.
- Convalescent stage – resolution of symptoms and disease.
Causes and sign and symptoms of whooping cough
Whooping cough results from B. Pertusis infecting the lining of upper respiratory tract. The incubation time between infection and symptoms appearing is usually around 7 to 10 days. The first symptoms are nonspecific, such as sneezing and a runny nose. Usually it is another week or two before characteristic coughing fit begins. These fits are often accompanied by a distinctive “whooping sound, as the sufferer gasps for breath. Coughing fits can go on for 6to 8 weeks and can be triggered by activities such as laughing or yawning.
Adults with whooping cough usually have much milder symptoms than young children.
Diagnosis of whooping cough
The diagnosis is usually made on the clinical symptoms, but in older children and adults who suffer a milder attack this can be difficult. The best method is to take a swab from the back of the nose and do a culture. Blood test are not very helpful, though the number of lymphocytes may be very high, aiding diagnosis. Otherwise, two samples of blood are needed, at the beginning and end of the illness, to show a rise in pertusis anti bodies during that time. If the sample is not taken early enough, it will not show a large enough rise to make the diagnosis.
Homeopathic treatment for whooping cough
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat whooping cough but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several remedies are available to treat whooping cough that can be selected on the basis of cause, sensations and modalities of the complaints. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. There are following remedies which are helpful in the treatment of whooping cough:
Cuprum met – in whooping cough accompanied with convulsions, or when the paroxysms are long and interrupted, cuprum is best selected remedy. The cough is very violent and threatens suffocation. The patient coughs up a tough, gelatinous mucus, there is much rattling in the chest, and the face and lips are bluish. A great characteristic of the remedy is the relief from swallow of cold water.
Coccus cacti – this remedy has paroxysms of cough with vomiting of clear, ropy mucus, extending in thick, long strings even to the floor. This is sometimes seen in children who cough and cough with this tenacious mucus stringing from mouth and nose, waving to and fro until it finally gives way.
The paroxysms come on in the morning, and accompanying them there is often vomiting of a clear, ropy mucus.
Belladonna – in sudden violent paroxysms of whooping cough, without any expectoration, and the symptoms of cerebral congestion, belladonna will be found useful. Attacks terminate by sneezing. The cough is excited by a tickling in the throat, as if from down. Retching and vomiting and pain in the stomach are prominent symptoms, but when belladonna is the remedy the congestive will be present and active, the onset sudden; the child gasps at the throat and clings to its mother, as if frightened.
Spongia Tosta – excellent remedy for whooping cough; dryness of all passages; cough dry, barking croupy like a saw driven through a pine board; cough, worse sweets, cold drink, lying with head load; wheezing, worse during inspiration, before midnight; irritation to cough high in the larynx, as if plug; orgasm of blood in chest, wheezing inspiration; spasmodic constriction in chest; anxious dry heat.
Mag Phos – this is the prominent remedy for whooping cough, which begins as does a common cold. The attacks are convulsive and nervous , ending in whoops. The indications may be stated as cough in severe paroxysms, with blue or swollen and livid face, with a severe whoop.
Corallium Rubrum – violent spasmodic cough, whooping cough; a very rapid cough, the attacks follows so closely as to almost run in to each other; cough with sensitive air passages; feel cold on deep inspiration; the cough is so violent that the children loose their breath, and become purple and black in their face; hawking of profuse mucus; feels suffocated and exhausted after whooping cough; aggravation in open air, changing from warm to cold room; too cold when uncovered and too hot when covered; relieved by external heat.
Aconite – clear ringing whistling whooping cough, excited by burning sticking in larynx and trachea; generally without expectoration; rarely during day expectoration of mucus, with coagulated blood.
Arnica Montana – paroxysms of whooping-cough excited by a creeping and soreness in trachea, bronchi or larynx, generally dry, often with expectoration of frothy blood mixed with coagula, or of a badly-tasting slime, which patient has to swallow; cough aggravates at night, child cries as if it dreaded the attack, cough till the blood gushes from nose and mouth; crying before and after the paroxysms; child places his hands upon chest to support and coldness of body; child feels sore all over, as if bruised; cough off and on during day, but more frequent and severe in evening.
Hyoscyamus – shattering spasmodic cough, with frequent, rapidly succeeding cough, excited by ticking, as from adherent mucus, at night without, in daytime with expectoration of saltish mucus, or of bright-red blood mixed with coagula; worse when lying down, after midnight, by cold air, by eating and drinking; vertigo as if intoxicated, head rocks on this side and on that; eyes protrude; heat and redness of face.
Hepar Sulph – hoarse croupy night cough; deep, dull, whistling cough, in the evening without, in the morning with expectoration of masses of mucus, purulent and bloody, sour, or of sweet taste and offensive odor; worse when anything cold; mucous rattling in chest with chocking; cough worse after exposure to chilly night air; shattering shocks and soreness in chest.