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Education » Health Care Topics » Whooping Cough / Pertussis

Whooping Cough / Pertussis

Categories » Essential Oils » Search by Health Care Topic » Pertussis, Whooping Cough

(Citrus limonum)
Traditionally used to support healthy immune response, lung and circulatory function, ease stress and nerve pain, promote mental clarity.


Lung Support

Lung supportive blend that may ease symptoms associated with respiratory issues and support healthy lung function. (Formerly called Lung Healing)

Respiratory Relief

Immune supportive and may ease symptoms of colds, sinus congestion, coughs, and seasonal allergies. 

Top Gun

Traditionally used to support healthy immune response and ease symptoms associated with Lyme, strep, E.coli, pertussis (whooping cough) and CL disease in dairy goats.


Whooping cough — or pertussis — is an infection of the respiratory system caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis (or B. pertussis). It's characterized by severe coughing spells that end in a "whooping" sound when the person breathes in.

Signs and Symptoms
The three phases of the disease are listed below.

The first phase of symptoms are similar to those of a common cold.
This phase is called the catarrhal phase and lasts 1-2 weeks:

    * Runny nose
    * Low-grade fever (less than 100.4°F)
    * Loss of appetite
    * Sneezing
    * Upper respiratory infection. Can be mistaken for a heavy cold
    * Mild cough

After about 1-2 weeks, the dry, irritating cough evolves into coughing spells, which can last for more than a minute, and the child may turn red or purple. At the end of a spell, the child may make a characteristic whooping sound when breathing in and may vomit. Between spells, the child feels well. Adults usually have milder symptoms.

Paroxysmal phase (lasts 1 - 4 weeks):

    * Cough increases (2 - 50 times a day), and fever decreases
    * Sudden, forceful breathing in causes the whooping sound
    * A sudden intense bout of coughing (paroxysms) causes bulging and tearing eyes, tongue sticking out, and bluish discoloration
    * Vomiting or choking may follow coughing bouts
    * Pneumonia may develop

Convalescent phase (lasts 2 weeks to several months):

    * Cough slowly goes away

Pertussis is highly contagious. The bacteria spread from person to person through tiny drops of fluid from an infected person's nose or mouth. These may become airborne when the person sneezes, coughs, or laughs. Others then can become infected by inhaling the drops or getting the drops on their hands and then touching their mouths or noses.

Infected people are most contagious during the earliest stages of the illness up to about 2 weeks after the cough begins. Antibiotics shorten the period of contagiousness to 5 days following the start of antibiotic treatment. We have observed that use of highly anti-bacterial essential oils (Bacteria Top Gun blend) also seem to shorten the contagious period, but we cannot find any clinical studies to substantiate this. We repeatedly get reports from families telling us that the exposed children who used the oils had milder cases and that the symptoms didn't last as long as the child who initially brought the disease into the family.

Incubation Period
The incubation period (the time between infection and the onset of symptoms) for whooping cough is usually 7 to 10 days, but can be as long as 21 days.

Pertussis can cause prolonged symptoms. The child usually has 1 to 2 weeks of common cold symptoms, followed by approximately 2 to 4 weeks of severe coughing, though the coughing spells can sometimes last even longer. The last stage consists of another several weeks of recovery with gradual resolution of symptoms. In some children, the recovery period may last for months.

Home Care
During recovery, let your child rest with their chest and head elevated in bed and use a cool-mist vaporizer to help loosen respiratory secretions and soothe irritated lungs and breathing passages. (Be sure to follow directions for keeping it clean and mold-free.) In addition, keep your home free of irritants that can trigger coughing spells, such as aerosol sprays, tobacco smoke and smoke from cooking, fireplaces and wood-burning stoves.

Kids with whooping cough may vomit or not eat or drink much because of frequent coughing. Offer small, frequent meals and encourage your child to drink lots of fluids. We've found that adding a drop or two of Lemon essential oil to the glass (never use plastic with essential oils) of water helps dissolve the mucus. Watch for signs of dehydration including thirst, irritability, restlessness, lethargy, sunken eyes, a dry mouth and tongue, dry skin, crying without tears, and fewer trips to the bathroom to urinate (or in infants, fewer wet diapers).

Use a small bulb suction syringe: Depress the bulb before inserting into the mouth (you don't want to push the mucus back into the mouth, so this step is crucial!), aim for the back of the child's throat to one side of his airway (straight down may gag the child) then release the bulb. Pull the syringe out, blow it out and repeat until the airway is clear.

Some feel it best to eliminate sugar, dairy, bananas, wheat and meat products and encourage vegetable broths, steamed vegetables and fresh fruit (especially pineapple and grapes).

Vitamin C - not buffered, but ascorbic acid - (200 - 500 mg two times per day. Children over 4 years of age can have up to 3,000 mg per day in divided doses for short periods of time), zinc (10 - 15 mg per day), and beta-carotene (10,000 - 25,000 IU per day).

Whooping cough responds quickly (12-48 hours) to absolute saturation therapy with ascorbic acid vitamin C. Vitamin C must be given every 10 to 15 minutes that the patient is awake in sufficient quantity to produce "bowel tolerance" (near-diarrhea). The quantity given orally may exceed 1000 mg vitamin C per kilogram body weight per day. Small amounts will not produce results.

The Vitamin C Treatment of Whooping Cough by Suzanne Humphries, MD

Doctor Yourself.com

Pertussis Vaccination Facilitates Bordetella Parapertussis Infection - PubMed

Whooping Cough Inhalation Blend by Perchon/Cantele
7 drops Sweet Marjoram
7 drops Lavender
7 drops Cypress
This can be used on an essential oil personal inhaler, or combine in equal parts for a soothing diffuser blend. To use as a massage, double the Cypress, dilute appropriately for the child and gently massage the chest and back.

Whooping Cough Back Massage Blend by Valerie Worwood
3 drops Thyme ct linalool
3 drops Ravensara
3 drops Palmarosa
2 drops Lavender
1 drop Frankincense
Dilute appropriately for the child and massage the back.

Zinc, Cod Liver Oil with D3 and A

Peroxidizer - Use 3% peroxide - 3 bottles of peroxide to 5 bottles of water in a cool mist humidifier. I use the ultrasonic humidifier because it cranks out more volume. Sit in front of it and breathe deeply - pathogens in the lungs and sinuses can't live in an oxygen enriched environment. Usually the flu and so on is gone within 24 hours using this method. You can also put it by your bed or the bed of your children at night when flu and cold strikes. Some have also had good results adding a few drops of Lugols iodine solution, which sounds like a good idea to me. - Kay Ness, certified neurodevelopmentalist with ICAN

Samuel Hahnemann, M.D., the founder of homeopathic medicine, successfully treated pertussis with one single dose of Drosera rotundifulia 30C potency. (Wm. Boericke, M.D. Materia Medica, 9th Edition, pp 258-259). Some homeopaths feel that it is not advisable to administer a homeopathic remedy concurrently with other medicine or its effectiveness may be reduced, but others feel that the homeopathic remedy can be administered, wait an hour and use natural products such as essential oils. To protect the homeopathic remedy, only open the bottle in an area free from the scents of herbs and essential oils.  No harm to the patient would occur even if carelessly administered, which is an attractive aspect of homeopathy.

The following anecdotal testimonies have not been reviewed by the FDA.
The products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure disease.
We believe that essential oils are provided by the Lord to support our health and well-being.
The Lord is our wisdom, protector and healer.
(Genesis 1:29-30, Ezekiel 47:12)

1. I found that diffusing Respiratory Relief and applying the same to the chest and back help tremendously. I applied Top Gun (an anti-bacterial blend) to the spine and/or bottoms of feet every few hours alternating now and then with Warrior. I used Lung Support as a suppository, which seemed to help, too. Keep water with fresh-squeezed lemon added nearby so the child can sip it; they must not get dehydrated, and the Lemon will help cut the mucus. For a very small child, I found it helpful to have a soft, terry cloth (like a baby wash cloth) handy. I'd put this cloth over my index finger and sweep my finger through her mouth at the end of the coughing to "grab" the mucus and get it out! Otherwise, I had the feeling that she was gagging on the mucus – this simple procedure brought quicker relief.
[HEO's Comment: Consider using Immune Support instead of Warrior for an effective yet more gentle oil blend for little ones.]

2. Oregano works very well and seems to cut recovery time in half. We added a drop to softened butter and spread this on toast.

3. Our protocol for whooping cough is:
Lemon in the water to keep the mucus down
Respiratory Relief for the chest for coughing
Plague Defense diluted with a little olive oil on bottoms of feet and the back to fight infection
Ledum on the throat
Plague Defense, Warrior or Oregano (diluted if necessary) on the feet

Recovery time of 3 months was cut to just about 10 days

Diffuse Respiratory Relief, Lung Support, Purification, Citrus Blessing, Lemon. Use Peaceful if there is a lot of anxiety and to help with sleep. [HEO's Comment: This testimony was shared before we had the Top Gun anti-bacterial blend. Instead of Warrior, I'd suggest using, or at least alternating with, Top Gun. Also consider using Immune Support instead of Warrior for an effective yet more gentle oil blend for little ones.]

4. Top Gun was obviously helpful when our children came down with whooping cough. The first child had it in full swing when we contacted Linda. She sent out Top Gun, Lung Support and more Respiratory Relief. We applied Top Gun to the bottoms of the childrens' feet day and night. All the others, who were already fully engaged in the coughing fits by the time Top Gun arrived, had less "violent" cases and they recovered much faster than our first child. I'm confident that Top Gun made this big difference. - J.S. 

5. While overseas, our family got the whooping cough. My unvaccinated boys did very well with the whooping cough and seemed hardly sick with a cold. The one with more allergies had a bit more of a cough at night, and it lingered longer. The youngest, who was 3 at the time, had been vaccinated (long story) once for whooping cough. He had full blown, awful, every symptom in the text book, whooping cough. It took him over a year to regain his stamina. He was really knocked for a loop with that one. I wish I had known about the Vitamin C treatment, but I didn't. So, in my experience with whooping cough, my youngest got it the worst, but he was the only one who had received a vaccine for it. I would take the disease rather than the vaccine any day! I also did foster care for a baby while overseas, and he ended up getting whooping cough from the vaccine! He was totally healthy when he was vaccinated. My cousin's son got the measles from his MMR vaccine. Before that, he was never sick. I have to agree with some of the people who are saying that these diseases are being propagated by the vaccinations. It does seem to keep doctors/hospitals/pharmacies/etc in business. - Jayme

6. I took mega doses of Vitamin C this past fall when I suspected that my son and I had pertussis. It shortened the coughing time to less than a month for my son. Every day, we'd max out our bodies' tolerances, and the coughing would settle down. Vitamin C is an amazing thing. - Sheri

7. My daughter, 8 years old at the time, had whooping cough two years ago. We followed the HEO protocol, the cough remedy from Gwen's Nest, used the vitamin C protocol suggested in the article linked by this post from vaccination council. She also took steady doses of probiotics and drank lots of chicken broth especially at dinner time. Do not feed heavy food for dinner. Whooping Cough is very contagious, but most people don't know they have it until they have been contagious for a while. The diagnostic test as it's described sounds horrible. We did not do that. It did take a good three months for my daughter to fully recover, but following these things made a huge difference in how she felt. Prevention: probiotics, vitamin C, astragalus, fermented cold liver oil. The Vaccination Council website is helpful. - Karen

8. Whooping cough is scary! My 2-year-old's lips and tongue protruding and turning blue with each long coughing episode. All four children have it. My friend brought me the Plague Defense blend, and I put Plague Defense in the diffuser and mixed 2 drops in a teaspoon of coconut oil and applied that on the bottom of the children's feet, chest, neck and back every 2-3 hours (I did this every 2 hours all night long). They were much improved overnight! This stuff really works! - Vivian
[HEO's Comment: Consider using Immune Support instead of Plague Defense for an effective yet more gentle oil blend for little ones.]

9.  We are now living in Nepal, and I want to encourage you all with a story! A native lady helps us with housework at our home. Her two-year-old daughter got the whooping cough, and none of the medicine she received seemed to help her. I gave her our bottle of Top Gun diluted with olive oil and told her to put it on her daughter's feet a few times a day. She did, and she said the severity of her daughter's coughing fits greatly decreased. Within a few days, her symptoms were all but gone. Needless to say, they were extremely appreciative. As a result, I am ordering them a bottle this time. Blessings, Amanda

Special Report: The Vitamin C Treatment of Whooping Cough
by Suzanne Humphries, MD
December 20, 2011

"This is important. If you think that a vaccinated person cannot get whooping cough, in the most severe manner, think again. Most babies over the age of 6 months who get whooping cough are fully and 'appropriately' vaccinated. Pertussis is admittedly, even by the vaccine enthusiasts, primarily spread by vaccinated children, adolescents and adults, who have inadequate immunity. Regardless, they will still say the problem is not with the vaccine, but rather with too few doses of vaccine. However, conventional medicine's own scientific studies demonstrate that bacterial clearance and immune response is not as efficient in the vaccinated, in particular with the acellular pertussis vaccine. When pertussis is left to take its normal course in the community, the supposedly vulnerable infants that the vaccinationists scream and yell about, are protected by maternal antibodies and mother's milk until they are old enough to process the disease on their own. After vaccines were introduced, this protection was vastly reduced, because the mothers were only having vaccine antibodies to pass along to their infants, and that defense is neither effective nor long-lasting. A recent study confirms that natural immunity to whooping cough lasts at least 30 years, whereas the immunity from a vaccine lasts 3 years, and after adult boosters, all antibodies have disappeared within a year. The risk of vaccination with unpredictable waning 'immunity,' and vaccine failure, is not as reliable as what nature has set forth, and it never will be."

Purchon, Nerys; Cantele, Lora, Complete Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness, 2014, page 176-177.
Worwood, Valerie Ann, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, New World Library, 2016, page 164.