By Dana Ullman MPH, CCH
(Excerpted from Homeopathic Medicine for Children and Infants, Tarcher/Putnam)
NOTE TO READERS: All homeopathic medicines are listed by their Latin names in order for manufacturers and users to be as precise as possible on the original source of the medicine. Please note that homeopathic medicines are legally recognized as drugs (usually "over-the-counter drugs," that is, drug that do not require a doctor's prescription due to their widely recognized safety). Homeopathic medicines are most effective when they are prescribed for the unique syndrome of symptoms the sick person has, not just the name of the disease s/he has. Because of the need for this degree of precision, the more knowledge the user has on how to select the individually determined medicine, the better the results with homeopathic medicines.
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The information provided here is not only applicable to children but to most people with the common cold.
REMEDIES LISTED IN CAPITAL LETTERS REPRESENT MORE FREQUENTLY INDICATED REMEDIES
Not every cold needs to be treated, since the body's natural reaction to the cold virus is a healthy response. Consider treating a cold if the symptoms are significantly disturbing the child, if the condition lingers, or if the child needs to attend a special event without having respiratory difficulties.
ACONITUM: This remedy is useful primarily during the first 24 hours after the onset of a cold. Typically, the child develops her cold or cough after being exposed to dry cold weather. She wakes from sleep with a dry, hoarse, croupy cough, especially worse at night and after midnight. She has a dry mouth, shortness of breath, and little expectoration. The cough is worse from being cold, drinking cold water, from tobacco smoke, lying on either side, and at night.
ALLIUM CEPA: This common remedy for colds is effective when the child has a profuse, fluent, burning nasal discharge which is worse in a warm room and better in open air. The nasal discharge will irritate the child's nostrils, causing pain from simply wiping his nose. He may also have profuse bland (non-burning) tearing from the eyes. He has reddened eyes and a tendency to rub them. He also tends to have a raw feeling in the nose with a tingling sensation as well as violent sneezing. Sometimes the discharge starts in the left nostril and moves to the right. The child may occasionally experience a congestive headache in the front part of the head.
Anas barbariae: Although this medicine (commonly marketed as "Oscillococcinum") is primarily effective in treating influenza, homeopaths have also found that it can also be helpful in treating the common cold. There are no known symptoms from which to individualize treatment, though it has been found to be very effective when used within 48 hours of onset of symptoms. Consider giving it if you don't know which other medicine to give.
Arsenicum: These children have a burning nasal discharge that irritates the nostrils and upper lip. They are very chilly and are sensitive to drafts or cold air. They may, in fact, sneeze from any change in temperature. Typically, the cold begins in the nose and moves down to the throat (once it goes down into the chest a different remedy is usually needed). They also have dryness of the mouth that leads to a great thirst but for only sips of water at a time.
Belladonna: This remedy should be considered when there is a sudden stopping of nasal discharge, and it is replaced by a congestive, usually throbbing, headache and high fever.
Bryonia: Like children who need Belladonna, children who need this remedy have little or no nasal discharge but a more prominent head pain over the forehead. Rather than throbbing pain however, these children have a dull ache. They sneeze often which may cause stitching pain on top of the head. The less the nasal discharge, the more painful becomes the headache. Their mouth is dry, as well as their throat, and they may also have a dry cough. They are very thirsty for cold drinks. They feel worse in a warm room.
Calcarea carb: This remedy is for infants or children who experience frequent colds and who fit the typical Calc carb syndrome. These children are chilly and very sensitive to anything cold, though they prefer to drink ice drinks. They may develop their cold after being chilled. They sweat profusely and have a sour perspiration. Likewise, their stools are sour smelling. Typically, these children are fair skinned and pudgy with poor muscle tone. They may concurrently get a sore throat with swelling of the tonsils and lymph nodes. They have a thick yellowish nasal discharge and rattling respiration due to loose mucus in the throat and chest.
EUPHRASIA: Children who need Euphrasia have profuse burning tears from the eyes and a bland nasal discharge. The whites of the eyes and the cheeks become reddened from the burning tears. The eye symptoms are worse in the open air. The profuse bland nasal discharge, often accompanied by sneezing, is worse at night, while lying down, and in windy weather. After a day or two of these profuse discharges, the cold then moves to the larnyx, creating a hard cough and a hoarse voice. The cough is worse in the daytime and is ameliorated by lying down.
Ferrum phos: This remedy is effective for children who get head colds with nosebleeds or who have blood in their nasal discharge.
Gelsemium: Children who need this remedy experience a watery nasal discharge, sneezing, and fullness at the root of the nose. Concurrent with this cold may be a fever, body aches, general fatigue, aching in the back part of the head, and sometimes a sore throat.
Hepar sulphur: This remedy is indicated for children who sneeze from the least exposure to cold air. Their nasal discharge is thick and yellow, and their nostrils and the bones of the nose are very sore. The nasal passages are sensitive to cold air. Sometimes these children concurrently have a headache. Typically, they are sensitive to touch and are generally irritable.
Kali bic: Stringy, ropy, yellow mucus is characteristic of children who need this remedy. When children get a thick, viscid nasal discharge, this medicine is invaluable. They may also experience post-nasal drip with tenacious mucus and pain at the root of the nose which is better from applying pressure there. There may be a constant inclination to blow the nose. The discharge, along with the sneezing, is worse by exposure to cold or in the open air. Sometimes these children get a swollen throat which is relieved by warm liquids. A cough may also occur concurrently.
Natrum mur: This remedy is most often given to children who get recurrent colds and whose symptoms match the certain Natrum mur characteristics. These children tend to develop their symptoms after an emotional experience, especially after grief. Death, divorce, unrequited love, or homesickness may create a grief that is not fully expressed, eventually leading to various physical complaints. They experience frequent sneezing and a profuse watery discharge from the nose and eyes, and a loss of taste and smell. Eventually, the nasal discharge may lead to a state of chronic nasal congestion and thick white mucus. Their symptoms are worse in the morning, at which time they usually hawk up much mucus. Dry and cracked lips or a cold sore may accompany the cold.
Nux vomica: These children develop their cold after overindulging in over-eating of rich foods or after prolonged mental or emotional stress. The nose alternates between having a fluent discharge and being dry and blocked. The discharge is usually fluent in the daytime and obstructed at night. This medicine is also a common remedy for the sniffles in newborns.
PULSATILLA: This remedy is commonly given to children who experience either acute or chronic colds. Typically, they have a thick, yellow or greenish mucus, and a bland discharge (a discharge that does not irritate or burn the nostrils or facial skin). They have nasal congestion that is worse at night, especially upon lying down, which leads to mouth breathing during sleep. Nasal congestion tends to alternate sides. This congestion is worse in a warm room and is more fluent in the open air. They sometimes develop their cold after overindulging in fatty or rich foods. Despite having a dry mouth, they are thirstless. Pulsatilla is a very common remedy for the sniffles in newborns, especially when their nasal discharge is yellow or green. The children who most commonly fit the Pulsatilla syndrome are emotional, sensitive, and easily hurt. They are moody and weep easily. They crave affection and sympathy and cannot get enough of it. They are impressionaonable, so much so that if parents are worried about their child's health, the child will tend to get worse, while if parents are confident that the child will get better, the child usually does.
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