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WHOOPING-COUGH (Pertussis)





Category: Infectious Diseases

Whooping cough is an acute specific
infectious, disease caused by a micro-organism. It is characterized in a
majority of cases by a spasmodic cough, accompanied by a so-called whoop.
It is not only infectious, but very contagious. It is propagated through
the atmosphere in schools and public places; the air of which is
contaminated with the specific agent of the disease. This agent is thought
to reside in the sputum and the secretions of the nose and air passages of
the patient. It is very contagious at the height of the attack. The sputum
of the first or catarrhal stage is thought to be highly contagious. The
sputum in the stage of decline is also thought to be capable of carrying
the disease. It prevails in all countries and climates. During the winter
and spring months it is most frequent. At times it prevails as an
epidemic. It occurs most frequently in infancy and childhood, but a person
can take it at any age. Second attacks are rare. It is most frequent
between the first and second year; next most frequent between the sixth
and twelfth month. After the fifth year the frequency diminishes up to the
tenth year, after which the disease is very infrequent. Not everyone who
is exposed contracts the disease. It seems that whooping-cough, measles,
and influenza frequently follow one another in epidemic form. This is one
of the diseases much dreaded by parents. It is very tedious and endangers
the life of weak and young children by exhaustion. It is a terrible thing
to watch one with this disease, day in and day out. It can be known by the
impetuous, continuous and frequent coughing spells, following each other
rapidly until the patient is out of breath, with a tendency to end in
vomiting. When it comes in the fall or winter months there will likely be
spasmodic coughing until summer through the usual colds contracted. Summer
is the best time to have it.

Symptoms. There is an incubation stage, but it is hard to determine its
length. After the appearance of the symptoms there are three stages; the
catarrhal, the spasmodic, and the stage of decline.

The First Stage. This is characterized by a cough which is more
troublesome at night. One can be suspicious, when instead of getting
better in a few days, it gets worse and more frequent, without any seeming
cause. After four or five days the cough may be accompanied by vomiting,
especially if the cough occurs after eating. There may be some bronchitis,
and if so there will be one or more degrees of fever. Fever is present as
a rule, only during the first few days, unless there is bronchitis. As the
case passes into the spasmodic or second stage, the paroxysms of coughing
last longer, the child becomes red in the face and spits up a larger
amount of mucus than in ordinary bronchitis. This period of the cough
without a whoop, may last from five to twelve days. In some cases there is
never a whoop. The child has a severe spasmodic cough, followed by
vomiting. Usually at the close of this stage the incessant cough causes
slight puffiness of the eyelids and slight bloating of the face.



Spasmodic or Second Stage. The peculiar whoop is now present. The cough
is spasmodic. The child has distinct paroxysms of coughing which begin
with an inspiration (in-breathing) followed by several expulsive,
explosive coughs, after which there is a deep, long-drawn inspiration
which is characterized by a loud crowing called the "whoop." This paroxysm
may be followed by a number of similar ones. When the paroxysm is coming
on the face assumes an anxious expression, and the child runs to the
nearest person or to some article of furniture and grasps him or it with
both hands. It is so severe sometimes that the child will fall or claw the
air, convulsively. In the severest and most dangerous types, a convulsion
may come on in a moderate degree, the face is red or livid, the eyes bulge
and when the paroxysm ends a quantity of sticky tenacious mucus is spit
up. In other cases there is vomiting at the end of the paroxysm. There is
frequently nose-bleed. In the intervals the face is pale or bluish,
eyelids are puffy and face swollen. There is little bronchitis at this
period in the majority of cases. In some cases the number of paroxysms may
be few. There are generally quite a number during the twenty-four hours.

Stage of the Decline. In this stage the number and severity or the
paroxysms lessen. They may subside suddenly or gradually after four to
twelve weeks. The whoop may reappear at times. The cough may persist, more
or less, for weeks after the whoop is entirely gone.

Complications. Bronchitis is common, it may be mild or severe. It may run
into capillary bronchitis and this is dangerous.

Diagnosis. Continued cough, getting worse and spasmodic, worse at night,
livid face when coughing, causes great suspicion as to its being
whooping-cough. The whoop will confirm it.

Mortality is quoted as twenty-five per cent during the first year. Between
first and fifth year about five per cent, from fifth to tenth year about
one per cent. Rickets, or wasting disease (marasmus) and poor hygienic
surroundings makes the outlook less favorable.

MOTHERS' REMEDIES. 1. Whooping-Cough, Chestnut Leaves for. "Steep
chestnut leaves, strain, add sugar according to amount of juice and boil
down to a syrup; give plenty of this. A friend of mine gave this to her
children. She said they recovered rapidly and the cough was not severe."
They are not the horse-chestnut leaves.

2. Whooping-Cough, Chestnut Leaves and Cream for. "Make an infusion of
dry chestnut leaves, not too strong, season with cream and sugar, if
desired. The leaves can be purchased at a drug store in five cent
packages."

3. Whooping-Cough, Mrs. Warren's Remedy for.

"Powdered Alum 1/2 dram
Mucilage Acacia 1 ounce
Syrup Squills 1/2 ounce
Syrup Simple, q. s 4 ounces

Mix this.

This is one of the best remedies known to use for whooping cough. It has
been used for many years, and some of our best doctors use it in their
practice. I do not hesitate to recommend it as a splendid remedy."

4. Whooping-Cough, Raspberry Tincture for. "Take one-half pound honey,
one cup water; let these boil, take off scum; pour boiling hot upon
one-half ounce lobelia herb and one-half ounce cloves; mix well, then
strain and add one gill raspberry vinegar. Take from one teaspoonful to a
dessertspoonful four times a day. Pleasant to take."





Next: PHYSICIANS' TREATMENT for Whooping-Cough

Previous: MUMPS (Parotitis)



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