Unlike some other diseases, a new born baby has no immunity to whooping cough, and can get it any time after birth. It commonly affects infants during the first year of life, if they are not immunised. Many causes of whooping cough occur in children upto five years of age. In some cases, children upto 12 years may also be affected.
Good nursing care is essential to the treatment of whooping cough. The child-patient should be isolated from others and kept in a well-ventilated room. He should wear loose clothes and must be given plenty of liquids in between the attacks of coughing. Orange juice will be especially beneficial. It can be given diluted with warm water on 50 : 50 basis. In case of constipation, a mild laxative, preferably castor oil, should be administered. This will also relieve the pain in the abdominal muscles which are usually strained during the paroxysms of coughing.
After the more severe symptoms have cleared, the patient should be placed on an exclusive diet of fresh fruits and milk for a few days. In this regimen, he should be given fresh juicy fruits such as apple, orange, pineapple and papaya with a cup of milk sweetened with honey. After further recovery, he can adopt a regular well-balanced diet, according to this age. The emphasis should be on fresh fruits, fruit and vegetable juices and milk. When the convalescent has been reached, the child should be encouraged to spend as much time as possible outdoors.
Certain home remedies have been found beneficial in the treatment of whooping cough. The most effective of these remedies is the use of garlic. The syrup of garlic should be given in doses of five drops to a teaspoon two or three times a day for treating this condition. It should be given more often if the coughing spells are frequent and violent.
Use of ginger is anotehr effective remedy for whoopng cough. A teaspoon of fresh ginger juice,mixed with a cup of fenugreek decoction and honey to taste, is an excellent diaphoretic. It acts as an expectorant in this disease.
A syrup prepared by mixing a teaspoon of fresh raddish juice with an equal quantity of honey and a little rock salt , is beneficial in the treatment of this disease. It should be given thrice daily.
Almond oil is also valuable in treating whooping cough. It should be given mixed with 10 drops each of fresh white onion juice, daily three times for a fortnight.