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.
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.
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.
Drosera – Drosera is one of the remedies praised by Hahnemann; indeed, he once said that Drosera 30th sufficed to cure nearly every case of whooping cough, a statement which clinical experience has not verified. Drosera, however, will benefit a large number of the cases, if the following indications be present: a barking cough in such frequent paroxysms as to prevent the catching of the breath; worse in the evening. All efforts to raise the phlegm end in retching and vomiting. The attacks are especially worse after midnight; the child holds its epigastrium while coughing. The drosera child cries a great deal. Arnica has crying before coughing because recollection or previous soreness and pain in present. Bayes says: “Drosera is more useful in whooping cough than any other remedy in our Materia Medica.” Unlike Hahnemann, however, he claims that the higher dilutions are powerless, and he prescribes the first. Drosera acts better in pure, uncomplicated whooping cough, and while it will correspond to some epidemics it will fail in others.
Mephitis – Mephitis is useful in a cough with a well marked laryngeal spasm, a whoop. Cough is worse at night on lying down, there is a suffocated feeling, and the child cannot exhale. Farrington observes that this remedy will often apparently make the patient worse, while it really tends to shorten the course of the disease. The catarrhal symptoms calling Mephitis are slight, but the whoop is prominent. The smothering comes on with cough, while with Corallium rubrum it comes on before the cough, and is followed by great exhaustion. There is not much expectoration with Mephitis. There are many spasmodic symptoms with this remedy, such as cramping of the legs at night. The writer has also seen good results from Naphthalin when the cough is very dry and catarrhal symptoms not pronounced, and the paroxysms of extreme length, and the constriction of the chest are present. It is a remedy that is especially suitable to whooping cough in adults.
Ipecac – Convulsive cough, where the child stiffness out and becomes blue or pale and loses its breath, great nausea and relief from vomiting are prominent symptoms for Ipecac. A “gagging cough” is a good indication for the remedy. The discharge of mucus is copious and tenacious, and the patient is very weak after the attacks. Violent shattering coughs following each other in quick succession, not permitting recovery of breath, indicate Ipecac. he child is limp and weak, and there is free perspiration. Sulphur is an excellent remedy for vomiting after the paroxysmal cough.
Antimonium tartaricum – With this remedy the child is worse when excited or angry, or when eating; the cough culminates in vomiting of mucus and food. There is much rattling of mucus in the chest, but the expectoration is slight. The child demanding Antimonium tartaricum will be irritable and cross, and will cry, when approached; the tongue will be white and weakness will be present. If diarrhea be present with great debility and depression of vital forces, or if the child vomits its supper shortly after midnight, Antimonium tartaricum will be the remedy. It also has marked aggravation form warm drinks.
Cina –This is not always a worm remedy. It is a most excellent remedy in whooping cough. It has the same rigidity as Ipecac, the child stiffness out and there is a clucking sound in the oesophagus when the little one comes out of the paroxysm. Grinding of the teeth during sleep will further indicate Cina. It, is of course, specially indicated by symptoms of worms and in children who are predisposed there to.
Magnesia phosphorica – This is the prominent Schuesslerian remedy for whooping cough, which begins as does common cold. The attacks are convulsive and nervous, ending in a whoop. Clinically, I have found this remedy, used in the 30th potency, to act marvelously in certain epidemics. While associated with Dr. William Boericke, of San Francisco, it was not an uncommon thing for a patient to come to us for “some of our whooping cough remedy,” which was nothing else than Magnesia phosphorica 30th. It seemed especially adapted to the then prevailing epidemic. The indications may be stated as cough in severe paroxysms, with blue or swollen and livid face, with a severe whoop.
Causes 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 6 to 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.
Symptoms of whooping cough
The disease begins with a cold and a mild cough. After this, the typical coughing bouts set in. The coughing continues until no air is left in the lungs. After this comes a deep intake of breath that produces a heaving, ‘whooping’ sound when the air passes the larynx (windpipe) that gives rise to the name of the disease.
The patient will eventually cough up some phlegm and these attacks may well be followed by vomiting. The child’s temperature is likely to remain normal.
A bout of whooping cough can be very distressing for both the child and the parents who feel unable to help.
Coughing attacks may occur up to 40 times a day and the disease can last for up to eight weeks.
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