Get rid of that gunk!
13:31 (GMT+2), Tue, 23 August 2011
Text: Sister Lilian
Sister Lilian offers helpful tips for identifying and treating mucous problems in children.
Mucous membranes are an 'internal skin' that line all hollow organs and passages. When irritated by foreign or allergenic substances, they produce more than normal amounts of mucus to encapsulate these substances and help the body work them to the outside – usually with a runny nose or sneezing. Excess mucus is unfortunately also an excellent breeding ground for organisms that can lead to infection.
Identify that mucus
• Clear, frothy, profuse, watery mucus is often related to acute and short-lived bouts of an allergy and is mostly accompanied by a lot of sneezing. It responds well to tissue salt and homoeopathic remedies. Your baby's nose will become red and painful from all the wiping and from the mucus itself, which has an excoriating (abrasive) nature.
• If the mucus is thick, white to grey and sluggish, there is often a family tendency to sinus congestion. Your baby might well be a plump, friendly and generally happy little boy who loves his food and milk. Excess mucus tends to clog all the upper airways and your baby may well also succumb to bouts of croup or bronchitis.
• Yellow, sticky or slimy mucus is generally accompanied by skin rashes and eczema. • Green, lumpy mucus is often considered to be infected, but if not accompanied by a raised temperature, this need not necessarily be the case. This mucus, however, is usually due to a persistent and recurrent build-up.
• The homeopathic nasal spray Nasenol is excellent at relieving nasal congestion caused by any type of mucus.
• The homeopathic remedy Allium cepa can be used to treat clear, burning mucus accompanied by red, streaming eyes.
• Homeopathic Pulsatilla is for a yellow-green discharge with a blocked nose.
Coughs and excess mucus
Coughing may be a sign of chronic, excess mucus, which can lead to more than upper airway congestion and infections, although irritation in the throat may be the simplest explanation. A wheezy or tight-chested cough, however, must be taken seriously, as this could be linked to asthma. The homeopathic remedy Croupbron drops is very helpful for asthma, but remember that asthma needs professional care.
Loose coughs also respond well to homeopathic remedies – ask your health store to show you the range that is available. If your little one does not improve soon or the cough develops into something more serious, see your doctor as soon as possible. Of course, factors such as smoke are a concern and if anyone close to your child does smoke, this could be the trigger for his or her cough. Smoking outside the house helps although it is not the ideal cure, as the nicotine is in your system and gets breathed onto your child anyway. Giving up is the only option.
Treat coughs at home
• Add a few drops of Eucalyptus oil to the hot water when you run your little one's bath (this builds up soothing vapours that help disinfect and open the airways).
• Steam-treat your child with Friar's balsam: add a capful to a basin of boiling water, drape a towel over your child's head and encourage him to breathe in these vapours – take care to avoid burning!
• Run a warm air humidifier overnight to which you have added a few drops of Eucalyptus oil if the cough is dry and hacking – but remember it is essential to have good ventilation and to clean and dry the humidifier thoroughly each morning.
• With acute attacks, close the windows and doors and boil a kettle (that does not automatically switch off) and use the steam in the room to make breathing easier.
• Administer the homeopathic remedy Croupbron drops at least three times a day, but hourly during an acute attack.
• Apply Vicks to your baby's chest and throat or if he gets a rash, onto his vest.
• Cut an onion into rings. Cover with pure honey and leave for four hours. Remove the rings. Give your child one teaspoon of the frothy liquid three times a day for coughing due to a postnasal drip.
Tips to prevent excess mucus
• Avoid or reduce dairy, grains, shellfish, peanuts, soya and eggs in pregnancy.
• Breastfeed for as long as possible.
• Reduce dairy and grain products if you are breastfeeding.
• Avoid baby cereals as a first food.
• Give home-cooked, fresh veggies rather than bottled baby foods, or choose organic, bottled baby foods.
• If possible, use organic produce only.
• Avoid grain products in your baby's diet until he is well over 1 year.
• Don't smoke in pregnancy and around children.
• Reduce or avoid processed foods, colourants and preservatives.
• Give your baby homeopathic NoVacReac with each immunisation. (Available from the Sister Lilian Centre (012) 348-4992).
About newborn babies
After birth newborns often have a lot of mucus or sneeze a lot to clear amniotic fluid and accumulated mucus from the airways. Colostrum, the first breastmilk, actually helps to break down this mucus and get rid of it – specifically to prevent infections. Tickling a newborn's nose to cause sneezing, a drop of saline in the nostrils or an application of homoeopathic Nasenol will also help clear this quickly.
Type of mucus Watery, frothy, profuse, burns, with sneezing Thick, white or greyish, sluggish, blocked nose Yellow, sticky, slimy, often with a tendency to skin rashes Yellow to green, lumpy, unpleasant postnasal drip
Tissue Salt Remedy Nat mur 9 Kali mur 5 Kali sulph 7 Calc sulph 3