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Safe & Natural Treatment for Coughs & Colds
The average preschool aged child catches approximately six to eight common colds every year. The vast majority of coughs, colds, and flus that children get are caused by viral infections and are not bacterial. So, that means that antibiotics won't work for the vast majority of children's coughs and colds. Thankfully, homeopathy offers safe and natural treatment for children's coughs, colds and flus. Homeopathy is a system of medicine that lives up to the Hippocratic principle of first doing no harm. Its medications support the body's own healing capacity. Furthermore, homeopathy is grounded in a scientific method and supported by clinical research.
In October of 2008, the FDA supported re-labeling OTC cough and cold medicines as not for use in children younger than four years because of serious and potentially life-threatening side effects. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports this and says that these medicines "have not been proven effective and can be harmful. A 2005 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report on infant deaths from cough and cold medications reported that 1519 children less than two years old were treated in emergency departments for adverse events (tachycardia, seizures, even death) associated with these preparations. It's a good thing we have homeopathy because it is so safe, gentle and effective for kids.
For those of you who are new to homeopathy, Hyland's has several great cough formulas (safe and non-drowsy) for both kids and adults including: Hyland's Cold 'n Cough 4 Kids, Nighttime Cold 'n Cough 4 Kids, Cough Syrup and Cough Syrup 4 Kids, Cough and Bronchial Cough. This great line of natural products makes it easy and convenient for moms and pediatricians who don't have a specialty in homeopathic prescribing. These kids products are even endorsed by Jim Sears, MD, a well-known pediatrician.
The single remedies whose coughs are described here all contribute to Hyland's various cough formulas and are readily available individually in many potencies and forms from TxOption's expert pharmacy:
Aconitum Napellus: May be helpful for a hoarse, dry croupy cough, with chest congestion that comes on suddenly with a high fever after exposure to dry, cold winds. It will be a short, dry cough with ringing, whistling, or barking sound. The person may have a feeling of suffocation from the cough that may cause them some anxiety with restlessness and tossing about. They will be worse around midnight and have an unquenchable thirst for cold water.
Allium Cepa: If you've ever gotten watery eyes and a runny nose from cutting an onion, then you know when to use this remedy. People who need it for their colds will have frequent sneezing and profuse acrid/burning nasal discharge, yet their tears will be profuse and bland. The acrid nasal discharge can burn like fire cause redness in the wings of the nose and upper lip. They have a watery runny nose, painful throat and a hacking cough from constant tickling in the larynx (voice box). It will be a hoarse, spasmodic, laryngeal cough that compels patient to grasp their larynx due to splitting pain. The cough will be worse in a warm room, during the evening and while lying and will be better in the cool open air.
Antimonium Tartaricum: The person who needs Antimonium Tartaricum will have a moist cough with a lot of rattling mucous that is difficult to raise. Emotionally, the child needing this remedy will look similar to Chamomile when they are sick because they won't want to be looked at or touched. These kids will cling to those around them and will often be irritable, whining and moaning while sick.
Bryonia: The person who may benefit from Bryonia has a dry, hacking cough from irritation in the upper trachea. The cough can be very painful and they often have to hold their chest, sides, or head during the cough. They are worse from warmth and motion and may have great thirst for large quantities of cold water that they drink at long intervals.
Causticum: Can help a cough with raw soreness of the chest and a sensation of mucous under the sternum. The person may wish they could only cough deeper because it is difficult to bring up the mucous. Oddly, the cough will be worse from cold air, yet better from cold drinks.
Drosera Rotundifolia: May help a deep barking cough from deep in the chest. The person may have coughing paroxysms that follow each other rapidly and can be so intense that they have to hold their chest and the cough can even cause choking, retching or a nosebleed. The cough may start from a tickling sensation as if there were crumbs, dust, or a feather in the throat. The cough is worse lying down as soon as the person's head hits the pillow.
Hepar Sulph Calc: This remedy may be helpful for a choking cough with rattling and croaking. The cough is much worse from exposure to cold air. Like Ant-tart, it will have the rattling cough that is difficult to raise the mucous, yet if some comes out, it may smell offensive like old cheese. The cough can cause a splinter like feeling in the throat. The person may have gotten sick from exposure to cold damp weather. They may sweat easily and profusely, yet are so chilly and sensitive to cold that they can't bear to uncover. They may crave sour foods. They may be irritable and discontented with everything and be worse from even the slightest touch.
Hydrastis: May be helpful for a rattling cough that starts from tickling in the larynx. They can have sinus congestion with thick, tenacious postnasal drip in the throat. Additionally, someone who may benefit from Hydrastis may have a very dry and raw sore throat.
Ipecacuanha: Helpful for a spasmodic, gagging cough. Sometimes this type of cough is so forceful that after a series of hard coughs the person may vomit.
Kali Bichromicum: May be helpful for a metallic taste in mouth with a dry, hacking cough with pain in the sternum. They may have profuse, thick, stringy, ropy, tenacious and sticky yellow discharge that causes gagging if they cough it up or blow it out. People needing this remedy may be chilly and worse in a cold room, worse from 2 to 3 a.m, and desire warm food and drinks.
Nux Vomica: The person needing Nux Vomica may be chilly, very sensitive to drafts, and will not want to uncover at night. The tight, dry and hacking cough is worse in the morning and causes a bursting headache generally in the forehead which makes them sensitive to noises, so they prefer a quiet room. Their sore throat can be very sensitive to breathing cold air. Drafts of air can cause itching in nose and throat that leads to sneezing. Their nose can feel completely filled up, especially outdoors and at night, but can have fluent, thin, watery discharge indoors during the day. They may wake easily especially around 3 a.m. and have trouble falling back to sleep until morning, so they wake up tired and exhausted. They can be quite tired and irritable when sick.
Phosphorus: People who may benefit from Phosphorus will have a hoarse dry cough, nasal congestion, and chest congestion. The cough can be dry, hacking, and spasmodic from a tickling or irritation in the larynx. The cough will be worse from cold air, talking, laughing, and lying on the left side. They can have a constriction of the chest as if there is a band or a string around it. They are very sensitive to odors, noises and bright lights and can be extremely thirsty for ice-cold drinks. When people needing Phosphorus gets sick, they may feel a bit anxious, want company.
Pulsatilla: Can be helpful for a person with a spasmodic cough, cold, and nasal congestion. A Pulsatilla cough will be dry at night and loose in the morning. It will often cause the child to sit up at night, cry and want to be held. Thick, purulent yellow-green discharge clogs their noses. The child may be more timid when sick but is never satisfied, is better being carried or walked slowly. The child may be less thirsty than normal and may tend to be worse in a warm stuffy room and better in cool open air. This child is much better when you console her.
Rumex Crispus: May be a valuable remedy to help a cough from tickling in the throat pit or a sensation of a lump in the throat. The cough is dry, incessant, spasmodic, hoarse, barking and fatiguing. It can be brought on by touching or applying pressure to the throat-pit or larynx. The cough is so sensitive to cold air and uncovering that the person may cover their whole body, head and face with the bed sheets.
Sanguinaria Canadensis: Can help a person with a sore trachea with tickling behind sternum. It has burning pain in chest with a constant hacking cough that makes the person sit up at night. Oddly, the cough may end with burping. Like Sulphur, at night, the person needing Sanguinaria may have hot burning feet that they need to stick out of the covers.
Spongia Tosta: Helps a dry, barking cough that often has a high-pitched whistling sound. It can sound as if each cough were the trust of a saw driven through pine board. It has very scanty mucous that is difficult to raise. The cough causes rawness in the chest and pain in the throat. It will be worse from deep breathing, talking, dry, cold winds, and before or after midnight. The cough will be better from eating and drinking, especially warm food and drinks.
Sulphur: Can help people suffering from chest congestion, nasal congestion, sneezing, and a burning runny nose. They can get flushes of heat, and the child may want to stick her feet out of the covers at night when she becomes warm. They tend to be worse when heated and, like Pulsatilla, feel better in cool open air so they may want the windows and doors open no matter how cold it is outside. Because they tend to be so warm, they are often thirsty for cold drinks.
Because homeopathy is so safe, gentle and effective, it should be part of every mother's and pediatrician's tool box. Parents need to understand that most colds and coughs are self-limited and will improve on their own without any treatment if they choose to wait. Most children have an amazing ability to heal with time, fluids, rest and reassurance, and to respond quickly to homeopathic remedies. The right homeopathic remedy can decrease the child's cough and help the body heal itself more quickly. Because Hyland's combination cough formulas contain some of the more commonly prescribed homeopathic remedies for coughs, it is a great first line of defense for moms and pediatricians.
*Note: For serious cases with high fever, severe cough with difficulty breathing, refer to a licensed physician to examine and treat your child appropriately.
About the Author:
Jamie Oskin is a naturopathic physician licensed in Arizona. He treats many for acute and chronic problems. He graduated in 2008 from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine with high honors. He then completed a one-year general naturopathic family medicine residency followed by a second-year homeopathic specialty residency at the Southwest Naturopathic Medical Center that was fully funded by a generous gift from Standard Homeopathic Company. He can be reached at 480-456-0402 or visit www.droskin.com