Whooping cough is a highly contagious and acute respiratory infection. It can affect everyone and is caused by a bacterium known as Bordetella pertussis. The infection is common in infants, children and the elderly. However, it can be prevented with pertussis immunization vaccine. In adults, the infection often occurs due to a poor immune system. Research shows that adults who develop whooping cough are those who might have developed their immunity from childhood vaccination that reduces as they grew up. Whopping cough is characterized by bouts of cough. This is often observed in the second or paroxysmal state of the disease. Despite being an acute and a highly contagious infection, it can be managed using home remedies as well as antibiotics. If not managed, it can easily developed further and cause a secondary bacterial pneumonia. This is a common complication of whooping cough.
Whooping cough is caused by a bacterium, Bordetella Pertussis. It often attaches itself to the lining of airways of the respiratory system. It attaches itself to the upper side of the respiratory system and causes whooping cough by releasing toxins. These toxins cause swelling and inflammation of the respiratory system.
Whooping cough also occurs when you breathe bacteria that are present in droplets released by a sick person. When a sick person coughs or sneezes, the droplets that come out contain the bacterium. Being a highly contagious disease, if you breathe in the bacteria, you will be infected. In most cases, infants and children contract the infection from caretakers and parents who may not even know that they have whooping cough. It is easy to spread the infection during its early stages.
Whooping cough develops in different stages. This is one of the reasons as to why you may live with the infection and pass it on to others without your knowledge. The delay is however an incubation period and it takes about 6 to 20 days for symptoms of the disease to occur. When infected with Bordetella pertussis bacterium, the first symptom will be mild and it develops with time. Early symptoms of the disease are similar to those of common cold. Therefore, it is easy to ignore them. They include
- Blocked and runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Irritating and dry cough
- Sore throat
- General tiredness and a feeling that you are generally unwell
- Infants may cry
These early symptoms will last for one or two weeks before they become severe. The second stage of whooping cough is characterized with intense bouts of cough. This stage is known as paroxysmal stage with symptoms ranging from
- Intense coughing
- Heavy phlegm when you cough
- A whoop sound after coughing is common in elderly persons or adults
- Vomiting especially after a cough and is common in infants and children
- Fatigue and redness of the face because of intense coughing
- Cough bouts at this stage last between one to two minutes. In a day, you can have up to 15 bouts and will last for at least 2weeks.
- Gagging, gasping and temporary shortage of breath infants
- In extreme cases, infants may become blue and choke whenever they cough
It is with no doubt that whopping cough symptoms are quite similar to those of a common cold. It is therefore important to be keen on these symptoms especially in infants and young children. Infants can choke or gasp to death and is often a complication of whooping cough. Visiting a doctor is highly recommendable for proper diagnosis and treatment of the disease. A medic will prescribe medication. Additionally, whooping cough can managed efficiently using home remedies especially during its initial stages.
There are many home remedies for whooping cough including the use of garlic and ginger among others.
- Garlic is one of the best and effective home remedies for whooping cough. Make garlic syrup and give five drops to a sick person. A teaspoon of the syrup should be given 2 to 3 times a day for effective treatment of whooping cough.
- Ginger is also an effective treatment for whooping cough. Mix fresh ginger juice with a cup of fenugreek decoction and honey for taste. The decoction provides a diaphoretic effect that helps in the treatment of the disease.
- Almond oil is additionally an excellent home remedy for whooping cough. Mix five drops of the oil with ten drips of onion juice, preferably white onion juice and ginger juice. The treatment should be used thrice a day for a fortnight.
- Radish is also an incredible home remedy for whooping cough. Mix radish juice with honey and rock salt. Take the juice thrice a day until the cough goes away.
- Turmeric is quite effective in treating alleviating whooping cough symptoms. It is a natural medicine and can eaten raw. You can also get powdered turmeric and take a pinch twice a day.
- Raw onion relives whooping cough. Chop a fresh onion and extract its juice. Mix the juice with honey and leave for five hours. Have a tablespoon of the juice daily until the cough goes away.
- Additionally, you can use calamus to treat whooping cough. It is a highly effective herb. Have a pinch of roasted calamus with a teaspoon of honey. The treatment is quite effective because it is an antispasmodic therefore; it helps to prevent severe bouts of cough in children and in adults. However, give it in smaller amounts to kids for the best results.
- You can also treat whooping cough using raisins. Prepare a sauce by grinding 100gms of raisins in regular drinking water and add 100gms of sugar. Heat the mixture on medium heat for ten minutes. Preserve the sauce or rather the liquid you obtain after heating and have a teaspoon once or twice a day to treat whooping cough.
- These remedies are quite effective in treating whooping cough. However, it is imperative to take a lot of water when under treatment. Whooping cough can cause dehydration especially in children and the elderly. To prevent such incidences, drink plenty of water, eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and soups.
- Additionally, give a child plenty of fluids to provide energy. Note that a child loses a lot of energy when he or she coughs. Plenty of fluids will replace lost energy and prevent dehydration. Hold the child in a calming manner, let the baby rest in a calm environment and if the baby is younger than one year, let him or her lie on the side or on the stomach rather than the back. This is to ensure that no chocking occurs when the child coughs.
- Give smaller and frequent meals to prevent vomiting. Mist vaporizer and a humidifier will also help to loosen phlegm, sooth the cough and loosen secretions to prevent choking in children and the elderly.
- Ensure your environment is clean and free of pollutants and irritants that can aggravate your cough. Stay in a dust, smoke, fume and aerosol free environment. Additionally, keep warm and get plenty of rest to enhance quality treatment. Epsom salts baths are relaxing and enhance treatment of whooping cough.
Diet is very important in the treatment and prevention of whooping cough. Ensure a well balanced diet for a sick child. This should be given in smaller and frequent amounts. Additionally, give plenty of fruits and soups especially during the initial stages of the treatment. It helps to clear whooping cough.
- Fruits and foods that are highly nutritious should be given in plenty. It helps to boost the immune system of a child or a sick person. A diet that is rich in vitamin C is very important. Consider broccoli, cabbage, spinach and light food. This is for easy swallowing bearing in mind that coughing is quite painful and can cause swelling and irritation of the throat.
- For infants, it is important to breast feed efficiently. Breastfeeding for the entire treatment period is highly recommendable. This is because breast milk supplies all nutrients and gives the baby energy. Avoid milk and any other milk product. This is because it builds phlegm that can easy choke the baby and lead to death. If possible, get a standby oxygen just incase asphyxiation occurs. You can give the baby plenty of fruit juices and water to prevent dehydration especially if whooping cough is accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea.
Whooping cough is a preventable disease. It is important to maintain proper hygiene in your home to prevent the disease. If anyone is infected, it is essential to prevent the spread of the disease. Wash hands regularly especially when touching items used by a sick person. If you are an adult, take antibiotics for five days before going anywhere near the children to prevent spread of the disease.
- Whooping cough can also be prevented efficiently through an immunization vaccine. Being an epidemic problem, medics recommend immunization of children at the age of 2months. 5 shots will be given until the age of 6years. The vaccine is known as DTap and it helps to prevent whooping cough at childhood and during adulthood.
- Additionally, it is essential to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Eat healthy to boost your immune system and to prevent whooping cough.
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