Whooping Cough or Pertussis - Serious contagious infection causing great distress.
This infection has a tendency to do the rounds in the UK from time to time and most children have little immunity unless they have been vaccinated. I remember catching it back in the 1950s and being the horrible little child that I was, I revelled in the terrible "whooping" noise I was allowed to make. It was only later when the classroom seats were unoccupied that I realise that this funny disease had taken some of my friends.
Whooping cough or Pertussis is a contagious bacterial infection which is now fairly rare due to an extensive vaccination programme. It is however considered very serious in young children under one and immediate medical assistance must be sought. If you had suffered it in your childhood you are unlikely to catch it in later life. However, this is not impossible and it can become very serious in adulthood causing serious strain on your heart and lungs.
It is identified by cold like symptoms and a dry cough. As it progresses the cough becomes fits of coughing until the lungs are exhausted and air is drawn in with a typical “whooping” sound. There may be some mucus coughed up and even vomiting. The stress of these attacks can be exhausting and very distressing to the child. There is no specific treatment and parents should be aware that bronchitis, pneumonia and ear infections could occur.
The use of steam has been known to give some relief from the coughing fits and the addition of certain essential oils to the steam will help greatly. If you can afford it a nebuliser would be a great help to allow the child to breathe more easily. They are easily available from as little as under 10pounds for a steam inhaler upwards for a all singing, all dancing nebuliser.
Essential oils to use would be Ti-tree or Niaouli with Rosemary, Lavender, Thyme and Cypress.
For older children a blend of essential oils and carrier oils such as Sunflower, Safflower or Almond. With this use 10 drops Lavender, 10 drops Cypress and 5 drops Niaouli or Ti-tree with 50ml of the above carrier oil. This should be massaged into the chest or back three or four times a day to reduce coughing fits.
Whooping cough can be a long drawn out illness and great care should be taken to try and avoid the child becoming exhausted or excessively distressed.
Even if the child feels like mixing with their friends, do not allow it as the illness is very contagious and can be dangerous, if not life threatening to a child with a weak constitution.
© 2012 Peter Geekie