Friday, 14 June 2013

Exquisite Corpse

Took me ages to think of a title for this and even now it's obscure!

So:

Click to tweet: http://clicktotweet.com/mtclr .  Whooping cough (pertussis) is an unusually straightforward infection which nonetheless needs to be treated differently from most other acute respiratory infections.  Usually, coughs need to be helped in one way or another as the body's natural way of ridding itself of pathogens, but in the case of whooping cough, or pertussis, the problem is the cough itself, so the cough, unusually, needs to be suppressed.  This happens with some other respiratory conditions, such as pulmonary tuberculosis, but among acute complaints it's unusual and in other cases would risk the patient developing pneumonia because the microorganisms would then be more able to move downwards into the lungs.

Most of what happens in pertussis is down to the cough itself.  Diphtheria pertussis produces a toxin referred to as pertussin which triggers the cough reflex.  Unfortunately, it does so in amounts which do so excessively, thereby increasing the probability that it will be distributed to other respiratory systems via droplet infection.  This excessive coughing is particularly harmful for children and smaller adults because their respiratory passages are narrower, causing friction, damage and complications such as asphyxiation, pneumothorax, anal prolapse, subconjunctival haemorrhage and brain damage.  Therefore the answer is to repress the cough reflex.

This can be done using wild cherry bark, which is anti-tussive because like many members of the Rosaceae such as apples, almonds and apricots, it contains cyanogenic glycosides - compounds which release cyanide groups when digested.  This suppresses respiration, i.e. the process whereby energy is released from glucose, in this case making the cough reflex less sensitive.

Other options are Inula helenium - elecampane - which stimulates the mucociliary escalator and clears the lungs, and the relaxing expectorants Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice/liquorice) which raises blood pressure and should therefore be used with caution, Verbascum thapsus, also known as mullein, which is a more straightforward relaxing expectorant, and the Schedule Three herb Lobelia inflata.

Tags:  Whooping cough, pertussis, cough, respiratory infection, complications, droplet infection, treatment, contagious, pneumothorax, anal prolapse, lung damage, sleep, exhaustion, pertussin, toxin, diphtheria pertussis, pathogen, germs, bacteria, mullein, cherry bark, cyanide, glycoside, herbs, herb, remedies, remedy, Prunus serotina, licorice, liquorice, Glycyrrhiza, glabra, verbascum, thapsus, lobelia, inflata, natural, health, cure, problems, illness,

This video was the result of a request after my stethoscope one, which has proven relatively successful at six dozen and two views so far.  I could go on to upload videos on each of the common childhood infectious diseases spread by droplet infection in the developed world, but i probably won't.  A more pressing issue is the fact that it's national diabetes week and i've completely missed it and am likely to continue to miss it due to other commitments such as Sarada's birthday and making a video on religion or spirituality for Sunday.  Even still, there is presumably someone who now has a video on whooping cough, which she wanted, though whether she can use it is another matter.

On a slightly related note, for some reason i use the American spelling for licorice.  I suppose the Commonwealth spelling annoys me, but pulling at that thread would have me use American orthography for more or less everything.

On reflection, i think tomorrow will be a webcam upload about diabetes mellitus.  It's better than nothing and since it's Sarada's ybirthday on the morrow, it'd be wise so to donne.