Whether or not you choose to vaccinate, you may find yourself in need of natural remedies for whooping cough for you or your child.
Whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory system infection caused by the Bordetella pertussis bacteria. The disease involves 3 stages.
Stage 1 - lasts for 1 to 2 weeks and is characterized by low grade fever, runny nose, sneezing, and mild coughing.
Stage 2 – usually lasts from 1 to 6 weeks, and bears the tell-tale severe coughing episodes. A “whooping” sound follows coughing, as the patient tries to intake air. Young children and infants sometimes need to be hospitalized during this stage to assist with breathing.
Stage 3 - is the “recovery stage” as coughing episodes gradually disappear over 2 to 3 weeks.
The vaccine for Whooping Cough is routinely given within the DTP shot, and cannot be administered separately. My experience is that whooping cough IS occurring, though rarely, and kids that are infected with whooping cough usually have some or all of their pertussis immunizations. Parents should do their research before deciding about this and all other vaccines for their children.
How to Treat Whooping Cough Naturally
Whether you choose to have your child vaccinated or not, whooping cough infection is a possibility. Antibiotics are prescribed to prevent the spread of whooping cough and lessen its duration, but they have little if any effect on symptoms.
Since western medicine has very little to offer in the way of palliative treatment for whooping cough, it is very important for parents to be familiar with, have access to, and feel comfortable using alternative treatments. It’s especially important to know how to treat whooping cough naturally if you choose not to vaccinate.
There are several natural remedies that can effectively calm whooping cough symptoms:
If you don’t have access to a practictioner, you can safely administer these two very effective homeopathic remedies on your own:
- Drosera is most effective if your child’s symptoms worsen in the middle of the night, or if fits are triggered by exertion. Dosera is also recommended if gagging, retching or vomiting follow coughing fits.
- Cuprum is a good remedy if coughing fits are rapid, last a long time and are very distressful for your child. If coughing episodes result in gasping for air or difficulty breathing and end in exhaustion, Cuprum should be administered.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
In Chinese Medicine, whooping cough is called “bai ri ke” – literally, the “100 day cough.” Practitioners recognize the three stages of whooping cough for treatment purposes.
- Chinese Herbs - Very effective herbal remedies may be used at each whooping cough stage to expel pathogenic factors, restore balance, and promote healing. Chinese herbal formulas for pertussis can be custom-made for the individual child’s constitution, symptoms, and stage of illness, so parents should seek out professional care with an experienced practitioner. My favorite formula is called Lung Qi Junior by Blue Poppy – available from TCM practitioners only, and able to calm the fiercest coughs.
- Acupuncture – In 2003, the World Health Organization recognized the potential therapeutic effects of acupuncture on whooping cough symptoms.
- Nutritional Supplements: Vitamin C in a high oral dose, therapeutic doses of vitamin D, unprocessed cod liver oil and probiotics can help strengthen the immune system. Children should drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, and avoid dairy products which can exacerbate symptoms.
- Essential oils that may be helpful in easing the symptoms of Whooping Cough include tea tree oil, camphor, eucalyptus, lavender, chamomile and peppermint. Massage onto your child’s chest and back in a carrier oil to soothe the cough.