Whooping cough is caused by a bacteria (Bordetella pertussis) and is one of the most contagious bacterial infections. If one child in a group of siblings gets it, the other children are extremely likely to become infected if they have not already had the disease or been vaccinated. This also includes babies. The infection is transferred through airborne droplets when an infected person coughs. Anyone who has not been vaccinated is highly likely to contract the disease just by spending time in the same room as an infected person. Anyone who has been vaccinated or has suffered from whooping cough will have a degree of immunity to the disease. They may contract a mild case some years later but this will not develop into a full-blown attack.

In common with the other infectious illnesses of childhood, the severity of whooping cough can be modified by using essential oils. The use of steam kettles, in the sickroom has long been known to give some relief from the exhausting coughing fits, and adding essential oils to any source of steam will be doubly valuable. Good oils to use are Tea tree or Niaouli (closely related to each other) Rosemary, Lavender, Cypress, Thyme and various blends of these. Steam vaporisations are valuable whatever the age of the child - though of course the kettle or other appliance should be placed well out of reach of a young child.

Older children can have chest rubs with a blend of

5 drops Niaouli
10 drops Cypress
10 drops Lavender

in 50 mls of almond, sunflower or other bland oil. Rub the child's chest and back three or four times a day with this blend to reduce the coughing spasms.

In every case, call a doctor, as whooping cough can be a long drawn-out and very debilitating illness, and the child becoming weakened risks succumbing to complications such as pneumonia.

However, using essential oils as suggested will reduce this risk, and help to shorten the illness.

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