There's no doubt that whooping cough is distressing disease, for both child and parent. However, there are many ways to prevent and treat the illness.
To prevent whooping cough:
* Breastfeed for as long as possible. There is no better immunity for tiny babies. Make sure you are consuming an organic diet, with supplements as needed. Once you introduce solids, make sure your child is getting a balanced diet of organic food rich in selenium, zinc, vitamins C and E, and potassium. If in doubt, consider high-quality supplements (BioCare does supplements in drops; tel: 0121 433 3727).
* Limit contact with the outside world when babies are very tiny, to avoid exposure to too many foreign germs.
* Consider homoeopathic nosodes. Some 50 years before the first vaccine was isolated, nosodes (homoeopathic dilutions of products of the illness in question, given orally) were commonly used to protect against a variety of diseases. According to government statistics, at the time these homoeopathic vaccines were used, the incidence of whooping cough, diphtheria, scarlet fever and measles in children plummeted (Gaier H, Thorsons Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Homeopathy, HarperCollins, 1991). Pertussin 30 is the usual homoeopathic nosode for whooping cough (available at Ainsworths, tel: 020 7935 5330).
If you or your child get whooping cough:
* Avoid over-the-counter cough suppressants.
* Consume a diet high in fruits and vegetables, with other wholegrains. Avoid mucus-producing foods such as dairy, wheat, meat and bananas. In the acute stages, try small frequent meals of vegetable broth and steamed vegetables, and drink plenty of liquids.
* Administer high doses of vitamin C. Studies show that blood and urinary levels of vitamin C drop in children during an infectious disease (Przegl Epidemiol, 1965; 19: 175-6). Fifty years ago, Dr Fred Klenner conducted extensive trials using vitamin C against a variety of childhood infections, and found that high doses given around the clock (1000 mg given hourly in school-age children) could dramatically shorten the duration of infection (South Med Surg, 1949; 111: 209-14). (In cases of complications, he gave several injections of 1000-2000 mg.) Consult a nutritionist to determine appropriate levels for babies.
* Also give high doses of vitamin A or beta-carotene during the acute stage of infection (2000-4000 IU if aged 1-3, 2500-5000 IU if aged 4-5, 5000-10,000 IU if aged 5-12, and 15,000-30,000 IU if aged 13-17. Vitamin A is more readily bioavailable, but use equivalent doses of beta-carotene if vegetarian. Make sure to only give these high doses for a short course and, ideally, under medical supervision.
* Steam the room with 3-6 drops of aromatherapy in a humidifier (use thyme, eucalyptus, camphor or rosemary) or use the same essential oils in a massage base to massage into the chest.
* Consider herbs. Besides Echinacea for immune-boosting (see PROOF! vol 6 no 7), an infusion for whooping cough can be made with two parts mouse ear (Pilosella officinarum) and one part each of thyme (Thymus vulgaris), sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) and coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara). Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes; take one cup three times a day. Aniseed may be added as a flavouring.
* Use homoeopathy. A large number of homoeopathic remedies have a long history in treating whooping cough: Drosera (tickling in the throat causing violent coughing and vomiting); Kali Carb (dry hacking cough late at night); Coccus (stringy mucus); Cuprum (turning blue from paroxysms of coughing); Belladonna (red face and bulging eyes); Ipecac (sick most of the time, a common pertussis remedy for infants); Hepar sulph (later stages). Consult a homoeopath for advice and treatment throughout the illness.