Managing RSV and Pertussis Symptoms

Our family caught a RSV in 2011, which went from one member to the next with a fever and cough. I didn’t get the fever, but got the cough. Soon my 6 week old started coughing too. On the third night, he wouldn’t stop crying and his cough sounded congested.

We tried suctioning out his nose, but didn’t get much at first. Mike could tell that there wasn’t liquid in his lungs. The majority of congestion or mucus was right in the throat and nose where we couldn’t reach. Mike decided to take him to the ER and suction out the mucus. There are so many cases like this where we live, that there are “suction clinics” set up in Utah InterMountain hospitals, so parents can take their child and get the mucus suctioned out quickly.

This can be a serious problem because the mucous is so thick, it can block the air pipe, making it hard to breathe. Bigger kids and adults can usually cough out the mucous without a big problem, but infants have a much harder time.

Natural Tools

Mike says they’ve been seeing lots of respiratory ailments and bronchiolitis this season in the ER (remember, this was. Also, California has had an outbreak of over 9000 cases of Pertussis. There are a few natural tools that work well to help with the symptoms of these illnesses.

1. Lobelia– This herb is on the FDA black list, but it is one of the most useful herbs we have. Yes, it can make you vomit if you take large doses (which isn’t always a bad thing), but in small amounts it helps tremendously with breathing. It relaxes the throat and bronchials, which also makes it valuable for pertussis and even asthma. I had pertussis myself several years ago, and Lobelia helped me sleep at night. I can only recommend that it be used externally. But I take 6 drops of the tincture internally (Vickie has a glycerin based one) every 15 minutes for myself. If my children need it, they get 3-4 drops, and for my infant, 2 drops at a time. It can also be rubbed on chest and back every 15 minutes.

2. Yarrow, Elderberry & Peppermint syrup*– You can buy this or make it yourself. Remember, antibiotics don’t work on viruses like RSV and by the time pertussis symptoms are obvious, it’s usually too late for antibiotics to be effective. Elderberry is antiviral, and prevents viruses from invading new cells, you just have to take enough of it. The yarrow helps with fever and cough symptoms, but doesn’t taste so good. The peppermint helps with taste. The dose that I use is a 1/2 dropperful, 6 times a day for adults or 10 drops for babies. *Please consult your doctor before taking.

More Natural Tools

3. Essential oils of eucalyptusmelaleuca, chamomile lavender*- I put 10 drops of each in 1/2 tablespoon of carrier oil (EV olive oil may be used) and rub this over chest and back, neck and behind ears, and on feet every couple hours, in between my baby’s naps. A blend of essential oils for the respiratory tract works very well also, and should also be diluted. A drop of oregano oil on the bottoms of the feet is powerful for seasonal and environmental threats.

4. Hot steamy showers & humidifier– The moisture helps loosen up the mucous so it can get out easier. I ran extra hot water in the shower for a couple minutes and then brought my baby in with me. I washed him and then passed him out to my husband after 10 minutes. We’ve also been running a warm mist humidifier in the room around the clock.

5. Vitamins A and D (drops)Vitamin A (20,000 IU per day) helps heal the mucous membranes (which line the respiratory tract) and vitamin D (5,000-50,000 IU per day) is anti-viral. They also help boost the immune system. For nursing moms, drinking 2 cups of carrot juice a day will be helpful as well.

Natural Tools

6. Bulb Syringe- At least for RSV, this is a MUST HAVE. We’ve used this every few hours, especially at night, to get the mucus out of Ian’s nose. I could hear it rattling around while I was trying to feed him. It helps to drip a couple drops of saline solution in one nostril at a time and then suction out whatever mucous will come. This is cheap and very helpful!

 7. Vitamin C- Studies show that 5000 mg a day in children can prevent the “whooping” part of the cough. I could definitely tell which of my kids had taken it and which hadn’t. I bought 500 mg tablets and Emergen-C (a fizzy mineral drink my kids love), which contains 1000mg per packet. Vitacost sells it at a good price.

As soon as my baby started getting congested, I stopped eating dairy and other mucus forming foods for a few days. As nursing moms, we can help our babies be healthier by eating healthy ourselves.

8. Anti-Spasmodic Formula For pertussis, this helps calm or stop the dry, consistent cough that is so annoying. I like Dr. Christopher’s Anti-Spasmodic Formula. It is a little spicy, since it contains a little cayenne. But I rub it over the front of the throat, and it helps relax the muscles in the throat to calm the cough. I also put a squirt into my herbal tea, and especially to have on my bedside table to use at night in case I wake up coughing.

When we have some natural tools on hand to help, there’s more we can do to help our children and we don’t need to be  fearful.

RSV and pertussis symptoms can be scary illnesses to deal with, especially in young children. Get help if your child cannot breathe and get expert advice when you feel you need it.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. 

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