Cough & Croup - Symptoms, Treatment, Homeopathic Remedies
Using Homeopathy for Cough and Croup
Coughing - a spasmodic, generally involuntary effort our body makes to expel microbes, particles, or secretions and clear the airways - is usually symptomatic of some condition. Persistent or violent coughing can indicate the presence of serious illness, or it might merely be the effects of a medication (such as an ACE inhibitor) or a smoker's hack from chronically inflamed lungs.
Coughing - among the five most common reasons that people go see a doctor - can be dry or "productive," and also can be classified by its duration. Before a cough has gone on for three weeks it's termed "acute," from three to eight weeks "sub-acute," and after eight weeks, "chronic." Reasons for an acute cough include: the common cold, acute sinusitis, pertussis (whooping cough), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - such as acute bronchitis or emphysema, rhinitis (allergic or non-allergic), asthma, and pneumonia.
The most common causes of chronic cough are asthma, gastroesophageal (acid) reflux, post-nasal drip (which can be caused by or lead to rhinitis or sinusitis), or chronic bronchitis. Conditions such as tuberculosis or even lung cancer are also possible causes for persistent coughing.
Treating chronic cough that issues from a known cause is usually straightforward, but the situation is more complex when the cause is unknown. Because chronic coughing often masks a more serious condition, it is important to accurately identify the true culprit. Diagnosis, in the event a patient is coughing persistently, comprises a clinical evaluation, and sometimes chest x-rays and/or a sputum culture.
Conventional Treatment Treats the Symptoms Not the Cause
Cough treatment depends on the cause, but most commonly consists of combination of medications: antihistamines, decongestants, antitussives such as codeine, expectorants such as guaifenesin or ipecac, corticosteroids, or bronchodilators like albuterol and ipraytropium. Protussives are prescribed for some more rare conditions, but cough suppressants are generally frowned upon, as coughing is a necessary mechanism in assisting in the recovery from respiratory conditions. If acid reflux is the true basis for the cough, prescribed "proton pump inhibitor" medications include esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec), pantoprazole (Protonix), and rabeprazole (Aciphex).
Recent research and safety concerns indicate that cough and cold remedies should not be administered to children under four years of age. This leaves a blank space in the treatment of childhood cough - one that natural and homeopathic remedies can ably fill.
Because of side effects and even the hazard of potential addiction (as with codeine), many people choose to adopt alternate approaches to managing their coughs. There are countless topical applications and other natural remedies that have been used for coughs since time immemorial, including licorice, garlic, honey, aloe, ginger, cayenne, and chocolate - just for starters. Folklore about treating coughs is vast; for example, eating spicy foods will help bring up mucous.
Homeopathy Matches Your Individual Symptoms to a Homeopathic Remedy So You Feel Better Right Away
As with all health issues, homeopathy approaches coughing from a holistic perspective, seeking to treat the underlying disorder rather than merely alleviate the symptom. As such a large constellation of respiratory maladies can be the source of the coughing, it is a sensitive process to identify the true cause, and homeopaths will take note of every minute aspect of the symptoms and physical condition of the patient/client. One of the most important determinants in the choice of a homeopathic remedy is the actual sound and behavior of the cough: where it originates, what it produces, how speaking affects it, etc. Some of the most common homeopathic remedies for cough include phosphorus (Phos), bryonia (Bry), hyoscyamus (Hyos), antimonium tartaricum (Ant-t), and lachesis (Lach). A skilled homeopath chooses individualized remedies that help reduce the intensity and frequency of the symptoms
Croup is a particular type of cough syndrome that occurs in children - usually from 6 months to 3 years of age. The virus-based, upper airway infection of the (windpipe) trachea and the (voicebox) larynx induces a bark-like cough, a loud squeaking noise (stridor), sometimes difficulty breathing, and hoarseness, especially when a child cries. Other symptoms may include fever (in roughly half the cases) and a worsening of the condition at night. Usually children have only a single bout of croup, but some have recurring episodes, which is called spasmodic croup. Most cases of croup are relatively mild, and can be treated at home with bed rest and plentiful fluids.
In terms of homeopathic prescription, some of the more common croup remedies include, most often, aconite (Acon), followed sequentially by spongia (Spong) and hepar sulphur (Hep); also, bromine (Brom) and sanguinaria (Sang) can be effective. A well-prescribed homeopathic remedy will enable a croup sufferer to recover easily. Be sure he or she is on a homeopathic remedy that is prescribed specifically for him or her (constitutional homeopathic treatment) which will prevent the condition from becoming severe and requiring corticosteroids.