Homeopathic help for Respiratory Syncytial Virus
RSV is a viral illness which causes infections of the lungs and respiratory tract. Symptoms are usually mild and similar to that of the common cold and most recover within a few days. This virus is very common; most children have been exposed to the virus by age 2 without complications and can usually be treated at home with common sense self-care and homeopathy.
Let’s take a look at how you can care for yourself and your family when dealing with RSV without the need for over the counter medications.
Symptoms most commonly appear around four to six days after exposure to the virus. In adults and older children, RSV usually causes mild cold-like symptoms which include:
- Congested or runny nose
- Reduced appetite
- Dry cough
- Low-grade fever
- Sore throat
Symptoms can progress too:
- Severe cough
- Wheezing — a high-pitched noise that’s usually heard on breathing out (exhaling)
- Rapid breathing or difficulty breathing — the person may prefer to sit up rather than lie down
Babies and Infants can develop more challenging symptoms as their lungs are still developing. Signs and symptoms of to look out for in infants include:
- Short, shallow and rapid breathing
- Struggling to breathe — chest muscles and skin pull inward with each breath
- Cough – croup like cough
- Poor feeding
- Unusual tiredness
Is it RSV or something else?
RSV can be hard to differentiate from other seasonal respiratory viruses. Without a specific test it’s hard to know if the symptoms are due to the RS virus or something else. The good news is for homeopathy to help, you don’t need to know if it is RSV. Remedies are selected based on symptoms and not diagnosed of a named condition or virus.
If you notice a raised temperature try not to artificially lower the fever unless necessary; fever is the body’s natural response to any viral illness, it’s a vital part of the healing process. Homeopathic remedies such as Aconite, Belladonna, Pulsatilla and Chamomilla can support the body through fever.
As the fever eases you may start to notice your child’s energy comes back and they start to play or want to eat. Other symptoms may develop such as mucus / catarrh production as the body continues to work through the illness. This is part of the body’s natural healing process and can be supported with remedies.
What can be worrying for RSV type of symptoms is the cough and associated lung symptoms. In those who are susceptible to coughs and lung complaints this can develop into pneumonia or bronchiolitis — inflammation of the small airway passages entering the lungs and, in some cases, require hospital treatment.
The remedies discussed below are well known cough remedies and have been of particular help with coughs associated with RSV. If you or your child is not getting better then seek help, coughs or viral illnesses do require support.
Remedies for RSV symptoms which are not responding to rest and common-sense self-care.
Copious phlegm rattling in the chest which is very difficult to bring up when coughing. Chest sounds wheezy and gurgling when breathing, cough is rattling and suffocative.
Lethergy, cold and pale face. Symptoms are worse at night and early morning.
A rattling, hoarse, loose cough with lots of phlegm. Lying down can make the cough much worse, sitting up and bending backwards slightly can make coughing a little easier.
Great sensitivity to drafts and cold which can set off the cough.
Other remedies to consider include:
Pulsatilla, Arsenicum Album, Spongia, Carbo Veg
For fever consider Aconite, Belladonna, Pulsatilla.
Cough is hard and dry with a tickling sensation in the throat. Very thirsty for cold water or warm drinks however eating or drinking can make the cough worse and lead to gagging and retching. All symptoms are worse for movement, and there will be irritability and headache which each cough will make much worse.
A hard, dry, tickling, rough sounding cough with a raw, burning chest with exhaustion. Trembling and rapid breathing after each coughing episode. Any mucus which is brought up can be blood streaked.
Painful lying on left side, better lying on the right side. Cough is much worse sunset to midnight.
Cough is dry and hollow sounding which comes on from irritation in the throat. Throat and larynx will feel sore and raw with burning and dryness. Voice will sound weak.
Chest appears to be full of mucus but is very difficult to bring it up. Coughing only brings the mucus up so far. Chest feels heavy with the feeling of not being able to take a full breath.
Better for damp, wet weather. Cough and rawness better for cold water
Worse for drafts, cold air, lying down.
Cough is hard, dry and metallic sounding. There will be hoarseness and can be total loss of voice by the evening.
Mucus is tough, stringy, yellow and copious which is hard to bring up. Chest sounds wheezy and rattly when sleep.
Dosage & Frequency
- Give 1 dose every 30 minutes and observe symptoms over the following 1-2 hours.
- Remedies can be repeated every 2-3 hours for 2-3 days.
- If no noticeable improvement or symptoms worsen after 12-24hours contact a professional homeopath for guidance.
As symptoms change you may find you require another remedy – take a note of changed symptoms and find a new remedy. This is the body working through the healing process, it doesn’t mean the previous remedy was incorrect. Symptoms change and new remedies can be given in response to the changing symptom picture.
Other ways to help
Remove dairy from the diet if you can. Dairy is mucus producing and if there is catarrh present consumption of dairy will exacerbate the situation.
Vitamin C – give regularly and often throughout the day until bowel tolerance (smelly gas and / or loose stools).
Zinc – liquid drops are absorbed quicker than tablets.
Vitamin D (with K2) – Essential for many processes in the body and over the winter months sunlight is limited so it can be helpful to supplement.
Soothing tinctures to ease throat discomfort are helpful. Consider adding manuka honey and lemon to warm (not hot) water. You can include Elderberry tincture and Echinacea.
Homeobotanical drops are also an excellent support for ongoing help and for acute symptoms. Blends specific to your needs can be made up which include combinations of herbs known to support the lungs, throat, immune system and blends made up for coughs, and colds.
Cell salts can help throughout the illness. Ferrum Phos is a great immune system support at first onset of symptoms. Then Kali Mur is wonderful for the end stages of lingering cough with congestion.
Keep hydrated, don’t try to encourage food if appetite is low, but always encourage water.
If lying down aggravates the cough, prop the bed/mattress up so you or your child is not sleeping flat.
If the cough is dry, central heating can make the cough worse. Use a humidifier if you have one or place a bowel of warm water by the radiator to keep some moisture in the air.
Care for yourself and your child in the same way as you would for any winter ailment with rest, fresh air, sleep, simple foods, low sugar foods and low mucus producing foods.