Autumn coughs and homeopathy – Part 1

So Autumn is upon us, and though as John Keats once wrote it is "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness", the charm of those mists may understandably pass you by if you've been up most of the night with a coughing child. 

Change of season is a classic time for coughs and colds, and so this week and next we'll look at how to manage your child's cough using homeopathy and natural methods. 

Before we start, it's important to state that the following advice applies only to straightforward coughs. Coughs that are very persistent or that affect breathing require professional help. If your child has a bluish tinge to their face, mouth or tongue, or if they are abnormally drowsy or limp, seek medical help immediately. 

It can be tricky to prescribe for your child's cough, as unless you are a homeopathic geek, then one cough can sound much like another. However, to help you choose the right remedy, think about when your child got their cough (did they go out on a cold, windy day?), are there times of the day when their cough is better or worse, and are there other factors which either make the cough better or worse, such as drinking, fresh air or warmth? Lastly, is your child's cough dry or do they cough up a lot of phlegm?

If the onset of your child's cough seems to coincide with a vaccination, consult a practitioner. 

So below I'll describe the first few remedies from those which are most commonly prescribed for children's coughs. The second half I'll detail in next week's post. 

Aconite (Monkshood) 

The Aconite cough hits a child pretty fast. The classic scenario is that after being caught in a cold, dry wind during the day, the child wakes around midnight with a dry, croupy cough which makes them anxious and restless. They are often thirsty. Aconite is the number one remedy for first stage croup. (I'll go into greater detail about croup next week.)

Bryonia (Wild hops) 

This remedy suits a cough which comes on when a cold that has been hanging around for a while moves down to the child's chest. The cough is dry and painful. Because this kind of cough is exacerbated by movement, your child might hold their chest when they cough to limit the motion. The child will be sensitive to drafts, and the cough may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting or headaches. 

Hepar Sulph

This would be the remedy for a barking cough, when mucus in the chest is starting to loosen up but is still hard for your child to expel - you can just hear it rattling around. The child who would benefit from Hepar Sulph will be very sensitive and irritable, they will also be chilly and feel much worse for cold drinks, drafts or cold air.

If one of those remedy descriptions matches your child's situation, give the appropriate remedy in the 30th potency every 2 hours for severe coughs, or 3 times a day in milder cases, each for 3 days maximum. 

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If you need further advice please get in touch, and I'll see you for the remaining cough remedies next week. Thanks for reading.