Respiratory diseases such as RSV, flu, and COVID have been on the rise in children lately. This makes it a very good time to review some of are important homeopathic remedies in cough, croup, and RSV.
Is it croup or RSV?
Croup is most often seen in young children and may include difficult breathing and a troublesome cough. The cough may sound almost metallic and come in waves or recur suddenly. The child may be very anxious and panicked and feel afraid, as will the parents of course! Croup affects the upper airway and may include a swelling of the larynx and the windpipe.
Croup usually starts as looking a lot like a common cold. However, because children have smaller airways, swelling and difficulty breathing may occur. The symptoms may start out mild but then start to worsen in the evening with a barking, high-pitched cough which sounds like a seal. This can lead to a barking cough. Breathing in may be labored or difficult.
Bronchiolitis, a complication of RSV
In contrast to croup, bronchiolitis can be a complication of RSV, which is normally a mild disease. However since the COVID pandemic, RSV has become more severe and is causing more problems than it used to.
Bronchiolitis is an inflammation of the small tubes of the lower airways, the bronchioles. When a child is suffering from bronchiolitis, the cough sounds like a wheezing high pitched whistling, especially when breathing out.
Homeopathic remedies for Croup, Cough, and RSV
In the old days when homeopathy was practiced widely in the United States, homeopathic doctors would emphasize 3 main remedies for children who have croup and croupy types of symptoms. These remedies are explained in the video below, or you can continue here to read about them.
Aconite: first stages of cough and fever
Aconite is a remedy that is the first stages of many acute conditions, especially if they come on after a dry cold wind, or a fright. A normally healthy child who goes out to play in cold weather without wearing enough layers, and then suddenly that night comes down with a high fever and a cough may need Aconite.
The child who needs Aconite for a cough or croup may find that their breathing becomes difficult, with a hoarse, dry, croupy cough. The symptoms may come on at night or especially after midnight.
There may be a sudden fever, and a hot feeling in the lungs. The child may try to sit up when they are coughing and the cough may sound like a ringing or whistling. Drinking fluids may not help the cough.
The fever may be high and they may feel dry and hot to touch. Emotionally, the child may be terrified, fearful, and restless. They may even be worried about dying. This remedy is often indicated in the first stages of an acute infection.
Spongia -dry, barking cough
The next remedy in our trio of croup and cough remedies for children is Spongia. With this remedy, the cough may seem very hoarse and the larynx may feel dry and constricted. The cough can sound dry, barking, and croupy, and be worse when taking a breath in.
The child may be worse right before midnight, and there may be a sensation of a plug in the larynx. Eating or drinking something warm may bring noticeable improvement.
Like Aconite, a Spongia state may also come on after a dry cold wind, but with Spongia, there is generally not such a high fever. This is one good way to differentiate these two remedies.
The first symptoms may be a roughness and dryness of the mucus membranes which leads to sneezing. The Spongia state is deeper, and often has a slower onset than Aconite. The child has come down with a cold a day or two before the cough develops.
If Aconite has helped but has only partially worked, it is good to consider trying Spongia. especially if the cough is getting worse every night. They may feel worse in a warm room or fromgetting overheated and want to stay cool -- but interestingly, warm drinks may help them feel better.
When a croupy cough comes on after midnight and the child wakes up frightened and feeling like they are suffocating sits up in bed and has a cough that is dry, hoarse, and ringing, Spongia maybe the best remedy, if Aconite isn't helping.
Hepar Sulph - chilly and congested
The final remedy of this trio is Hepar sulph. If Aconite or Spongia has helped the cough, but then the symptoms return the next morning, Hepar sulph can be helpful.
Hepar is a remedy for the later stages of croup or cough when mucus has already formed and the cough becomes rattling.
We find that Hepar Sulph is worse both at night and in the morning. If, after thrying the first two remedies, the cough comes back the following evening with a rattling sound in the throat or chest, then Hepar can help.
A child who needs Hepar may also have been exposed to a dry cold wind, as in Aconite and Spongia, but with Hepar, there may also be a loss of the voice and hoarseness.
The cough may become worse whenever any part of the body gets cold or uncovered or from eating anything cold.
The cough is loose and rattling and may sometimes be described as a choking or croaking cough. The child may need to sit up and bend their head backwards in order to relieve the cough.
Even though the cough is loose, it may be difficult to get much expectoration to come out, and what does come out maybe thick and yellow. The child may feel chillier than usual and also unusually oversensitive to everything.
There may be sticking or splinter-like pains in the throat or elsewhere, and easy sweating. If the cough has gone on for a while there may be a rattling, barking, cough with great soreness in the chest and much chilliness.
The cough can cause choking and gagging even to the point of vomiting and become much worse in the cold air. You might notice the child sweating and coughing at the same time.
How to use homeopathic remedies
I suggest using these remedies in a 30C potency. They are readily available at Whole Foods, your local health food store or online. Homeopathic remedies are inexpensive and keep well as long as they are stored away from sunlight, and temperature extremes. If your child is not feeling well and the symptoms fit one of these remedy pictures, you could try a dose of 3 pellets and see if there is any improvement within an hour or two. Do not repeat a remedy if it hasn't helped.
This completes our discussion of our three top remedies for croupy cough. Of course, consult your doctor if symptoms worsen, or are worrisome. Keeping these three remedies in your home remedy cabinet may change the course of your child's illness, so keep in mind these time proven homeopathic remedies for cough, RSV, and croup in children!