Coughs are typically some of the most difficult ailments for children and babies to cope with. Usually, there is an increase in coughs during the winter months when your child’s resistance is at its lowest. Coughs can also occur at times of seasonal change when the variation in temperature, diet, and lack of sunlight lowers resistance, making your child more susceptible.
Since cough is the body’s way of ridding mucus from the respiratory tract, it is best not to suppress it but rather assist the body to rid itself of the accumulated toxins and return to a comfortable state of health.
Historically, we think of coughs, colds and other illnesses as negative events and something we have ‘caught’ from somewhere or someone. In fact, as humans we harbour a huge range of bacteria in our body and these are activated by our defense systems at times when our body is under stress.
Disease symptoms such as coughs and colds are remedial efforts made necessary by the body to get rid of the accumulation of waste and toxins in our cells. Our efficient inner bacteria work hard to carry away this waste in order to preserve our integrity. Having this ‘clean-out’ then is often a good thing as we will surge forward with a boost in energy or development afterward.
A state of internal cleanliness is our best ingredient for health and well being, as inner bacteria cannot multiply without toxins to feed on. Your initial first defense, then, in boosting your child’s health, should be nutrition. When the resources of the body are consumed with clearing the waste residue, it needs potent, effective nutrition to assist it.
Juices: Fresh, homemade juices are simple to make in a juicer and can be inexpensive. Wash all fruits and vegetables being used and stick to simple flavours a young child will like such as apples and carrots, maybe with a touch of ginger. Children can drink small amounts of these during the day.
Fresh Fruit: Slices of pear, apple, mandarin, orange and kiwi fruit are all high in vitamin C and easy for your child to nibble on and digest.
Fluids: It is important to keep up the hydration in a body that is cleansing. This helps with the excretion of cellular waste and promotes free bowel and urinary function. If your child is not drinking water, try them on honey and apple cider vinegar drink – a tablespoon of each in 1 litre of water makes a palatable, healthy drink.
Herbs: The addition of herbs that promote healthy immunity, such as Echinacea, can assist the body to return to balance more quickly. Your local naturopath or health shop will give you guidance as to the best dosage for your child.
Lozenges: Although many of these contain sugar, a substance you want to avoid during healing, sucking on a lozenge can provide immense relief to someone with a cough. There are many natural lozenges available on the market.
Food: While the body is in its cleansing stage, avoid dairy products and wheat-based products (which typically increase mucus in the body). Refined sugars should be avoided and heavy foods such as meat and processed foods. The body will do better on lighter foods over this period and usually, the patient will feel more like light snacks. Homemade soup is a good choice.
Sleep and Rest: Resting the body is extremely important as the body is using all its resources to undertake cellular repair and exchange. This is a full-time job. It is important to have early nights and rest during any illness.
Homeopathic remedies: A correctly prescribed homeopathic remedy can cut short the expected duration of a cough, giving your child relief from debilitating symptoms. The unique aspects of some of the more commonly used remedies are listed below. A ‘remedy picture’ should be fitted to all the symptoms exhibited by your child especially any symptom changes from the norm.
- Dry, hard cough, sudden onset, often caused by cold, dry winds
- Early stages of croup, starts early in the night, child gasping, choking & anxious
- May spit up some watery mucus
- Cough dry & painful, the patient must hold chest & head if sore
- Worse after eating, drinking, or in warm rooms
- Warm water helps the cough and they may drink a large quantity at once
- Mucus usually absent but may be yellow or streaked with blood
- Cough with burning in chest & difficulty breathing
- Varies in type – dry, loose, croupy or deep
- Often some blood streaks in phlegm or thick yellow-green
- Chest pain worse lying left side – a sense of weight or constriction
- Cold, cold air & drinks, laughing, talking, eating all worsen the cough
- Laryngitis & hoarseness accompany the cough
- Constant desire to clear the throat – feels there is mucus in there
- Hoarseness – worse with almost any cold, worse in the morning, from overuse, bending forward, and better from cold drinks
- Patient coughs deeper & deeper trying to clear the mucus
- Bronchitis with a hard racking cough. Loss of urine when coughing
- Raw feeling in the chest as if the rock were inside
- Dry & shallow, set off by tickling in the throat pit (above breastbone)
- Worse breathing deeply – causes the patient to cough as does cold air, in the evening before midnight and lying down
- They are better in warm air or putting head under the blankets
- Croupy or harsh cough, loud, dry & hoarse or rasping (sounds like a saw through a dry log)
- Wakens patient from sleep (before midnight) – a suffocative constriction of the throat – a sense of something in there, or of breathing through something
- May be some anxiety about the health
- Worse from excitement, talking & ice-cold drinks
- Better from drinking warmer fluids & eating
- Cough from every exposure to cold air, worse from draughts, and better in warm rooms
- Deep, wet coughing of thick yellow phlegm – smells like old cheese
- May experience sharp or splinter-like pain on coughing
- Worse in the evening before midnight & slightest uncovering – the patient is usually very chilly
- Dry & loose coughs, worse lying down, exertion, warm rooms, better in the open air
- Often cough dry at night & loose by day
- The child becomes weepy and clingy
- Spasms of coughing may end in gagging & vomiting
- Children often cough in their sleep without waking
- Dry, spasmodic, croupy cough – barking or ringing sound
- Tickling or roughness excites the cough – can feel as if coming from the abdomen
- Spasms worse after midnight, follow quickly, end in retching or vomiting
- Worse lying, eating, drinking, better supporting chest or abdomen which helps the pain
Distressing coughs such as croup and whooping cough can often be minimized with a series of appropriate prescriptions so that effective improvement takes place in a shorter time frame.
Please seek advise from a qualified homeopath who will be able to select an appropriate remedy from the wide range at their disposal if none of these remedies seem to fit the symptoms you or your child is suffering.
Disclaimer: If you have any concerns about complicated cough symptoms. Please remember your Scope of Practice, if you are ever in doubt, please contact your local GP or Qualified Homeopath.