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The Return of Whooping Cough


Whooping Cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. Symptoms begin with a cold and mild cough. If untreated at the onset, it can become serious, especially in infants and babies.

Once pertussis takes hold, the symptoms include strong bouts of coughing that end in gagging or even vomiting. At the end of the cough, the person gasping for breath produces a whooping sound when the air passes the windpipe. These attacks can occur up to 40 times a day and the condition can last for up to 8 weeks.

While everyone is wondering why whooping cough cases are increasing at such an alarming rate, few know how to treat it. Antibiotics have been documented to make Pertussis worse, and anti-spasmodic medications usually contain steroids that depress the immune system.

Early blame for the increasing incidence of whooping cough was directed toward the small population of unvaccinated children, but recent data shows that the large majority of cases are contracted by those who have been vaccinated. Also, most aren’t aware that shortly after being vaccinated, YOU can spread disease, including Pertussis. 


Why Pertussis Epidemics Persist


Following is my summary of information found on Dr. Mercola’s site.  It comes from Peggy O’Mara, the former editor and publisher of Mothering Magazine.

  • Pertussis Is Cyclical by Nature. Whooping cough tends to occur every 4 to 5 years no matter how high the vaccination rates are in a population.
  • DTaP Vaccine Immunity Wanes Over Time. The acellular pertussis vaccine loses much of its effectiveness after three years; the one we used to receive lasts much longer – up to 12 years.
  • Vaccinated Individuals May Still Spread Pertussis. The Tdap booster vaccine is recommended for children aged 7 years and older, as well as adults, parents and close family members of babies under age 2 months, who are too young to receive a pertussis-containing vaccine themselves.

Known as “cocooning,” this controversial practice is being promoted as a way of protecting babies from whooping cough by vaccinating their parents and other adult caregivers. There is little evidence that this works. In fact, research shows that vaccinated individuals may still transmit the disease – infecting the child they were trying to protect.

In an animal study, while acellular-pertussis-vaccinated baby baboons did not develop serious clinical disease symptoms — such as loss of appetite and cough — when they were exposed to the B. pertussis bacteria, they still colonized B. pertussis in their throats and were capable of transmitting the infection to other baboons.

The study’s lead author Tod Merkel also explained that when exposed to B. pertussis after recently getting vaccinated, you could be an asymptomatic carrier and infect others, saying:When you’re newly vaccinated, you are an asymptomatic carrier, which is good for you, but not for the population.

The Tdap shot is also recommended for pregnant women, even though it has not been proven safe and effective.

Research has shown that the booster shot is only 53 – 64 percent effective.  There is also concern that the mass use of existing pertussis vaccines has led to vaccine-resistant strains that are still evolving and could become much more virulent.

The new mutation, which some researchers are calling “P3,” is a strain that produces more pertussis toxin (PT). Another reason why whooping cough cannot be entirely eradicated is the fact that there’s another Bordetella organism — parapertussis — that can also cause whooping cough. The symptoms of B. parapertussis, while often milder, can look exactly like B. pertussis, but doctors rarely recognize or test for parapertussis. And, there is NO vaccine for it.


DTaP Shot Risks


Whooping cough can be serious, especially for newborns and babies, whose tiny airways can become clogged with the sticky mucus produced by the toxins in B. pertussis bacteria. The majority of 10 to 20 pertussis deaths that occur in the U.S. every year are in infants under age 3 months.

However, the vast majority of children and adults get through a bout with whooping cough without complications, and it is important for them to get proper nutrition, hydration and rest to support the healing process that sometimes can take as long as two to three months before coughing ends.

Similarly, while some children and adults get pertussis-containing vaccines and experience no complications, others do suffer serious reactions, injuries, or have died after getting vaccinated. It is well known, for instance, that whole cell and acellular pertussis vaccine in DPT and DTaP/Tdap vaccines may cause brain inflammation and permanent brain damage in both children and adults.

Nearly 3,000 cases of pertussis-vaccine-induced brain injury and death have been awarded compensation in the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), as reported by Barbara Loe Fisher, president of the National Vaccine Information Center.


Natural Remedies for Whooping Cough


If you think you or your child have whooping cough, you should seek medical attention right away, especially if it occurs in an infant or young child. However, there are some natural remedies  that may help someone with whooping cough move more comfortably through the healing process (and certainly won’t hurt).

  • Avoid mucus-forming foods such as milk (including yogurt and cheese), flour (bread, pasta, etc.), eggs and all sugar (it depresses the immune system for hours)
  • Eat light foods – steamed vegetables, chicken or vegetable soups with garlic, and drink herbal teas
  • Take 5,000 mg of Vitamin C in divided doses every 30 minutes to an hour. Stop when bowels get loose
  • Keep skin hydrated by massaging the body with coconut oil
  • Probiotics are always helpful in any infection – particularly after a round of antibiotics
  • Consider the homeopathic remedy Drosera. For a complete list of homeopathic remedies for whooping cough, click here.


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