- Alternative & Natural Medicine
Homeopathy for Croup and Colds
The official recommendations from the FDA for that sniffly, snuffly, sore throat, congestion and coughing does not include homeopathic care. If you do not want to confront drug side effects, people in the know seek out some natural remedies before hitting the hard medicines.
We know the common cold can be caught year-round, with about 1 billion cases per year in the United States. Take preventative steps to boost your ability to ward off the symptoms.
1) Vitamin C
2) Sunshine and Vitamin D3
3) Stress reduction exercises / meditations
4) High quality nutrition
6) Drink plenty of fluids
7) Probiotic foods to build good intestinal flora
The medications below have warning labels. Many different drugs contain similar or contraindicative reactions. Do not overload and double up on these medications.
- Nasal decongestants - unclog a stuffy nose
- Cough suppressants - quiet a cough
- Expectorants - loosen mucus so you can cough it up
- Antihistamines - stop runny noses and sneezing
- Pain relievers- ease fever, headaches, and minor aches and pains
- Taking too much of certain pain relievers can lead to serious injury.
- Do not give cough medicines to children under four, and don't give aspirin to children.
- Finally, antibiotics won't help a cold.
Introduction to Croup
When my children awoke in the middle of the night gasping for breath, I felt the panic spread from their inabiliity to breath to my inexperience to deal with the problem. At the time I did not know how to recognize the signs of croup and the key symptoms which could help me find a homeopathic remedy to ease their suffering. Their lungs made wheezing sounds. Their body tensed up as if they were taking their last breath. All I knew was if we sat outside in the fresh air, they seemed to quiet down and recover . The cold night air seemed to help them breath.
The next day, the pediatrician listened to their lungs and determined whether my child had a bacterial or viral infection. The doctor said it would take a few days to a week for the symptoms to lessen, but antibiotics were not needed when the illness was viral.
Back at home, I turned on the hot shower and we watched the steam fill the bathroom. Having actions to control the environment calmed our nervousness as we watched the mirrors fog up in a kind of meditation. The steam helped loosen a tight chest, while the harsh barking coughs receded until they could relax enough to quietly get into bed.
We ended up purchasing a hot steam humidifier which filled the bedroom with lovely warm air droplets. In later years, due to reports of children getting burned, they took that product off the market and replaced the hot steam humidifier with the cold air mist variety. Adding a drop of essential oils, like eucalyptus and other aromatics helped opened up their lungs and sinuses. The steam filled the room with moisture, the windows clouded up and the walls would literally drip with water droplets. I learned to wipe down the walls during the day and air out the room, even during the cold winter season to prevent mold from growing.
What is croup?
Croup affects the respiratory system in young children ages 2-4 years old. When you hear wheezing sounds coming from the larynx (voice box), the trachea (windpipe), and the bronchial tubes, you know the child may be in danger of suffocation, while struggling to breath.
Barking Sounds, Fever, Fear, Swelling
The distinct barking, that sounds like a seal or harsh crowing sounds on inhalation, indicate croup. The body responds to attack with the typical low-grade fever (around 100° to 101°) which trigger the chain reaction of the immune system's own healing power. If the child exhibits incredible fear and panic this will clue you into the potential homeopathic remedies to cover this emotional state. The immune system signals the tissue to produce swelling and inflammation when foreign invaders enter the body, which narrows the air passages.
Causes of Croup
Parainfluenza, RSV, measles, adenovirus or influenza virus trigger the croupy cough and immune system response. That explains why the physician usually sent us home without an antibiotic and gave instructions to sit out in the cold air. Often, croup comes on seasonally when the air is changing from hot to cold or from cold to hot during the months of October or March in the U.S. When croup turns into a secondary infection, like diphtheria, doctors resort to antibiotics.
The word "croup" originated from the Danish "hropja," which sounds like a croupy child trying to get air in and out of the lungs.
- Epiglottitis, another more serious illness results in inflammation of the lining of the trachea, with high fever and sore throat and could be life-threatening.
What To Do To Make The Child Comfortable
Treatment includes moist air, saline (salt water) nose drops, decongestants, cough suppressants, pain medication, fluids, and occasionally antibiotics. Guardians and parents must closely monitor the child's breathing during each episode of croup.
Doctor Explains Croup Cough
Mind Over Matter When It Comes To Cough
If Placebo and The Placebo Effect could effectively heal our symptoms, wouldn't that be the best way to cure? No medications, no side-effects, quick response, self empowerment, a deeper relationship between body and mind, self and creator and life itself.
As knowledge of this healing modality increases, more individuals, physicians and healers will use these techniques. A study reduced cough by 45% in a small test case of 21 subjects. Learn about Placebo.
The Three Main Remedies
Hepar sulphuris ---
Commonly called hepar sulph, this remedy made from oyster shells (Calcium carbonica) combined with flowers of sulfur has a particular sensitivity to wind and cold air coming in through an open window. If the child complains bitterly and you notice that open window with cold air blowing or he's peevish when you attempt to touch and soothe the child, Hepar sulph may be the remedy of choice. Think of hepar sulph to help relieve sticking pains in the throat and ears when suffering through colds, coughs, sore throats. Pain sensations are felt as sharp sticking "splinter-like" and everyone knows how that feels. A sore throat may feel like a fish bone is stuck in the neck and the pain increases with every swallow. The time modality for croup usually comes on at night.
The response can be so extreme that the small amount of pressure, as in the action of swallowing, can cause extreme pain and the patient may faint. The sensitivity to cold also seems out of proportion. For example, if a hand or foot slips outside the bedcovers the patient will become chilled. You will see them bundle up with many blankets. Any slight exertion will cause the patient to perspire profusely. You will feel this cold sweat and smell their sour and offensive body odor. Some say it smells like rotten cheese. In terms of color and consistency, the discharges of mucus are yellowish and thick. Hacking coughs are dry with mucus rattling in the chest, similar to an Antimonium tart rattling cough. Often these individuals appear lean with large glands and fair skin and hair. When you ask their favorite foods, they will desire sour foods like pickles and vinegar, but they do not like fatty foods.
Just as physically they are irritated by any amount of cold, on the mental level they are also easily irritated and become impulsive, angry, obstinate, anxious, fearful, impatient, sad, and even depressed. You can tell they are not easy to please and nothing satisfies them. In fact, they can have an inner desire to violence or to kill someone, which they will not act out upon. It is just a feeling. With all this anxiety about their health, they are also want to be pleased immediately and so they are demanding of a quick fix. This makes them hurry in all they do.
Think of the second remedy of the triad, aconite, right away when you find out the child has croup. We call the 'key' indication in selecting a remedy the "keynote." Thus, if the person feel they will die, even to the point of predicting the time of death, consider aconite. You will note the panicked and fearful countenance on the face.
When your child runs outside to play all day in the warm sun, then the temperature drops precipitously from a burst of cold wind and change in atmosphere that sets the stage for illness. The weakened vital force of the child will suddenly appear at night as a fever and croupy cough. As many times as you remind the child to put on their coat, they take it off and get caught off guard in the chilly air. They do not even realize what happened, but the body had too much change to contend with during this changeable season.
Symptoms to look for are suddenness, red cheeks when laying down but pale face when sitting up, or one cheek is red while the other is pale. There will also be a runny nose during an episode of croup.
Spongia is the third remedy to keep handy. You can be certain this is the choice if the cough sounds like 'sawing through a board of wood.' It is the ocean plant that has animal like features. Just think about the sponge soaking up fluid and filling the space so the airways narrow. There is inflammation of the respiratory tract, with heat and pain. The irritation of the tissues produce a barking cough with many spasms. This is where the humid air of the shower or bath helps. The typical "stridor" wheeze on inhalation is heard.
If there is not the great suddenness as in the Aconite croup, but can also have a fear of dying. Look to spongia for slower onset. A component of the sponge is iodine and the features of this child are not the fair skinned and hair, but darker in appearance. Not only is spongia tops for croup, but also for coughs that are deep in the chest and related to an enlarged heart and goiter due to the iodine component. The iodine affects the heart valves and can produce a heart murmur and helps with rheumatic fever and goiter.
There can be changeable moods from anxious something is going to happen to playful and happy. The wheezing inhalation has a high-pitched sound, as if the sponge is filled and feels very tight. Like aconite, this type of croup also comes on with cold weather and cold also makes the condition worse. Logically, warmth ameliorates, including warm foods and drinks.
The time that croup is worse is right before midnight or in the morning. As you can imagine, when a child lies down the spongia type fills with fluid and thus, they want to be propped up in bed. They might say, "I feel full and congested" or they will suffocate. We can also hear a change in the voice.
Two Other Homeopathic Remedies Not in the Triad
Kali Bichromicum the number one remedy for sinus infections, can also come in handy for croup. The color of discharges are not necessarily yellow, but can be white. The cough sounds metallic and brassy with lots of loose phlegm, not so much the tightness of spongia.
The body type is usually more on the overweight side with flabby muscles. These fair skinned children have a hard time being sociable.
Phosphorus is excellent for respiratory distress, pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses. It is known for tendency to bleed like bloody nose or cuts that bleed easily. The cough seems to worsen with laughter, talking and change of room temperature. These children can also become quite fearful whenever they are ill. As opposed the the Kali bich child, these children are extremely sociable and get along well with everyone.
One clue for the use of phosphorus is for the child who grows quickly with a tall lanky appearance. They may come down with colds often, maybe it is because they are in the circle of so many friends and come in contact with many germs? They will have flushes of heat and love cold, carbonated drinks. Although they love salty foods, it may make them feel worse. You will find them rubbing themselves to feel better, and they do better with sleep.
Recognize The Classic Croup Cough. Listen to Wheezing Sound. Notice how the body struggles for air.
Sounds Like Bronchitis: Very Mucusy
Has this Hubpage been helpful?
Doctor Demonstrates the Sounds of Croup
Your Personal Experience
Have you or your child had croup?
Caution with Breathing Difficulty: Blue Child Indicates Call 911
Short but good Example
Effects Even Very Young Infants: Striated Breathing
True Croup Story and Remedy That Worked
Sometimes the remedy that works is not the listed triad above Aconite - Hepar Sulph - Spongia. But, with some careful observation, a parent or experienced homeopath will find another remedy to calm the cough. Here is a true story by Christopher Moloney of Maine.
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