Wednesday, August 13, 2014

As far as I know, this is from a vintage poster
 and in the public realm.
Before the advent of vaccinations, whopping cough was a common occurance. For historical writers, and those who are interested in the history of medicine, I thought I'd post an excerpt from an article about how to treat the disease from an April 1935 issue of The Farmer's Wife. 


Whooping cough, like measles, is one of the most dangerous affections of infant and children. Its seriousness is underrated by most parents.

Like measles, whooping cough is most contagious during the early stages, often before the condition is recognized. Whooping cough is due to a germ and the infection is spread in the spray which comes from the throat during a fit of coughing.

During the first, or catarrhal stage, which lasts a week or more, the attacks of coughing sound somewhat like an ordinary laryngitis. There is usually the difference, however, that the attacks in whooping cough come with intervals between. The attacks increase in severity, and the thing which makes the diagnosis practically certain is the characteristic "whoop" which comes when the child inhales after a numer of coughs. The whoop is caused by the narrowing of the opening of the windpipe due to a spasm of the muscles.

In severe cases the face becomes very red and eyes look as if they might pop from their sockets. In some of these cases there are hemorrhages around the eyes and small hemorrhages or congestion in the brain, causing dizziness and a staggering gait.

Vomiting of food is a common and stressing symptom accompanying the cough. This is often so persistent that the nutrition suffers. For this condition it is well to give concentrated liquid food in the form of milk, soups, gruels, eggnogs--a cup or a glass every three hours, allowing longer intervals at night. Avoid large meals of solid food.

Severed bronchitis and pneumonia are rather common and dangerous complications of whooping cough. So are heart troubles, caused by the extreme strain of the coughing. The most dangerous complication of all, however, and the one responsible for many deaths in infants under two years, is convulsions.

. . .Because of serious complications in young children, try to keep your children from catching whooping cough until they are five years old, at least. The contagious period usually lasts about three weeks, but to avoid all risk it is well to protect infants for a much longer time.


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