Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a bacterial infection that can afflict both children and adults. It begins as a cold with a low-grade fever, but after 10 days, the cough becomes rather vicious. At the end of a coughing spell, the traditional "whooping" sound can be heard.
If the condition is diagnosed early enough, antibiotics can be given to help stop it and to keep it from spreading to others. Unfortunately, most cases of whooping cough aren't caught in time for antibiotics to be given, so just letting your body do its job is all you have left. You can help your body fight, though. Check out the 6 ways you can help your body win the battle against pertussis.
1. Rest. Regardless of the illness, the best thing you can do for your body when you are sick is to give it rest. WebMD says that this is especially true when fighting whooping cough. Your body needs time to heal. Unless the illness has been caught early enough for antibiotics to be prescribed, rest is going to be the primary healer.
2. Fluids. The second most important item in healing, according to Medical News Today, is getting plenty of fluids. Between the occasional vomiting and diarrhea that can come with whooping cough, getting enough fluids to fight off dehydration can be a problem. Popsicles, juices, water, tea - anything liquid is good.
3. Small meals. The Mayo Clinic recommends eating smaller, more frequent meals to keep from throwing up after you eat.
4. No OTC remedies. A recommendation from the Mayo Clinic that is rather surprising is to avoid all over-the-counter cough suppressant and expectorants. These don't work and actually make the problem worse. None of your typical home cough remedies are recommended either. Before trying honey and lemon, ginger, turmeric or any of the other old standbys, check with your doctor.
5. Acetaminophen. To help with the low-grade fever and any discomfort caused by the bacteria, Medical News Today recommends taking acetaminophen. It cautions parents to remember that children under the age of 16 should not take any aspirin.
6. Clean air. Because strong odors and small particles in the air can trigger coughing fits, the Mayo Clinic recommends keeping your air clean during the illness. Don't have a fire or burn incense and candles as these things may just exacerbate the problem.
No one wants to be sick, but illness is a part of life. Knowing what to do when you or your child gets struck with an illness can make all the difference.