see also Colds, Colds in Infants
Extremely common in childhood, especially once child goes to school or playschool and is exposed to new germs. Positive side is that colds gradually build up immunity. Most colds begin with a tight feeling in the throat, followed by sneezing and a runny nose; mucus is clear at first, becoming thicker, and yellow or greenish; mucus dripping on to vocal cords irritates them, causing a Cough, and if swallowed can cause stomach ache (see Abdominal Pain).
Most colds run their course within 7-10 days. Some ‘colds' may be a symptom of Allergy (mucus stays clear) or common childhood illnesses and fevers (see Fever), or part of a pattern of symptoms associated with Asthma or cystic fibrosis. Recurrent colds, especially if they descend to the chest and develop into Bronchitis or Tonsillitis, or lead to acute Middle Ear Infection, warrant constitutional treatment as the child's immune system may not be as robust as it should be.
If child has a temperature of 39°C (102°F) or over, or is taking more than 40 breaths per minute, or has difficulty breathing or speaking, or is very drowsy, or starts to turn blue around the lips, consult your doctor if there is no improvement in 2 hours.
Specific remedies to be taken every 2 hours for up to 10 doses
- First stage of cold, especially if child recently exposed to draught or cold wind Aconite 30c
- Child has high temperature, red face, staring eyes, feels very thirsty, symptoms come on after a hair wash or haircut Belladonna 30c
- Thick, greenish catarrh, child tearful, clinging, not at all thirsty Pulsatilla 30c
- Cold begins as sore throat, child complains of earache and is very sensitive to draughts, lymph glands in neck swollen and tender, saliva glands working overtime Mercurius 30c
- Cold comes on after child has got wet or damp after being hot Dulcamara 30c
- Cold resembles 'flu, child heavy -eyed, weak and shivery, complains of aches and chills Gelsemium 30c
- Thick, yellow catarrh, ratty breathing, child irritable, clammy, wants to stay indoors away from wind and draughts with legs and arms covered Hepar sulph. 30c
- Child irritable, wants to be left alone, very thirsty and gulps down large quantities of fluid, constipated, stuffed up nose and dry lips Bryonia 30c
- Streaming nose, lots of sneezing, constipation, irritability, child most ill around 4 am Nux 30c
Self-help: If child suffers from lots of colds, turn down central heating, give the house a daily airing, and invest in a humidifier. If you smoke, try to confine your smoking to one room and clean all curtains and furniture in the house with a proprietary cleaner to remove all traces of cigarette ash, which is an irritant. Reducing the quantity of dairy foods (milk, cheese, yoghurt, butter) in the diet, and increasing intake of Vitamin C and zinc, may also help.