This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
Avoid exposure to the exciting cause. Give special attention even to the slightest cold when the disease prevails, as a cold predisposes to the disease as does a diarrhea to cholera in cholera times. The testimony of the most eminent physicians is that there is no specific for whooping-cough. The eminent Niemeyer declares that "we cannot ever ascribe any special curative influence to belladonna, a drug which has acquired great reputation. On the other hand, we attach great value to well-managed treatment by sweating."
The disease must be treated like any other severe catarrh. The patient must be taken away from the source of infection with the disease when possible, as continued exposure to the cause will aggravate it very greatly. He should also be kept at as uniform a temperature as possible; and the temperature should be sufficiently warm to keep the skin in an active condition. Care should be taken to give the patient abundance of fresh air, but without exposure to drafts. In summer he may be out of doors during the middle of the day, but must not be exposed to the coolness of the morning and the evening. He should wear warm woolen clothing, particularly about the chest, and should have the neck protected by a thick flannel bandage. Once a day, if the patient is strong, he may take, with advantage, a warm blanket pack. The vapor bath, and vapor inhalations are also remedies of great value in this malady. Fomentations and compresses to the chest are of great value in children old enough to take them readily, The child must be taught to restrain the cough as much as possible. After the mucus is expelled from the throat by coughing, there is no more occasion for cough, and it may be controlled by an effort of the will. An eminent German lady, who had had much experience with the disease, declared that "whooping cough was only curable by the rod." The child must be told to stop coughing, and if necessary, compelled to resist the cough, as this is one of the most effectual means of cutting short the disease. The cough itself aggravates it, and the more it is restrained the less will be the disposition to cough. Very little, if any, medicine is needed. Simple soda water is one of the most useful remedies. It should be taken just before the paroxysm. The following is equally good used in the same way: Saleratus, half a teaspoonful; water, a large teacupful; sweeten with sugar, and flavor with cinnamon or winter-green if necessary. This will shorten the attacks of coughing by facilitating the expectoration of the tough mucus; "it loosens the cough." The common use of narcotics in this disease, especially in children, is to be condemned, since they are " apt to cause hyperaemia of the brain." If used at all, their employment should be restricted, to use the words of an eminent German author, "to those cases in which danger from the disease outweighs danger from the remedy." When the amount of mucus is so great as to threaten death by obstruction, it may be necessary to cause vomiting for the purpose of relieving the lungs of the accumulated mucus. This should be avoided until absolutely necessary, and the mildest means possible should be used for the purpose.