Whooping cough, caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis, is sometimes fatal (see www.whoopingcough.net for more information). The main symptom is a choking cough, with 'whooping' occurring when the sufferer is suddenly able to draw breath back into the lungs. Today it is rare due to vaccinations. The papers in the Powys County Archives contained three remedies to alleviate the symptoms:
For Whooping Cough
6 drams diluted nitric
3 ounces Simple Syrup, or you may put instead 3 ounces of water and a desert spoonful of white sugar
9 ounces of water besides
The above two recipes were for internal use, the one below was to be inhaled:
Recipe for whooping cough
Take a large open jar, in which put a red hot brick. Pour on it one gallon of boiling water, then add 1 oz of the strongest solution of ammonia. Let the children inhale the vapour for ¼ of an hour then wrap them up warmly and put them to bed.
This recipe must not be used till after three weeks of the cough.