Something I struggle with the most, is living in a society that uses western medicine. We try to live more natural but I know that natural isn’t always better. We vaccinate our boys and use tylenol and ibuprofen but when it comes to antibiotics, I would just rather avoid them. Of course, this statement is much easier said than done. I feel a lot of western medicine uses scare tactics to keep you following the doctors orders but this usually keeps you sick and relying on them.
I promise to do the right by my children every day and so I have. When our youngest son, Vallon (now 2), contracted what I believe to be the flu, from his older brother, I didn’t think much of it at first. Chase only had a fever for 2 days and a bit of a lingering cough. Along with high fevers there was a lot of congestion and coughing. There was rapid breathing for both of them, which was partially from the fever. My husband and I seemed to dodge this one so I wasn’t sure all the symptoms they may have been feeling. By the 3rd day of fever for Vallon I was a bit more worried because his lungs sounded terrible. Thankfully we have a great stethoscope at home. I could hear wheezing and crackling. Chase was also wheezy for a few day but that is pretty normal for both of them considering it’s a symptom of some flu’s and they had RSV last year (which can make children wheezy every time they get sick for as long as a year).
So I took Vallon to the doctor on day 3, which was last Monday. The nurse practitioner there is great but she wasn’t able to provide me with any new information. She said it sounded like pneumonia and when I asked how to tell for sure, she said he would need x-rays. She said we don’t know for sure the type of pneumonia but we will treat it anyway. Which didn’t surprise me. So, she prescribed penecillin, predesolone and albuterol. We headed home with a bag of drugs.
What is pneumonia?
Pneumonia is a lung infection that can cause a fever, coughing, fast shallow breathing and chest pain. A lot of times pneumonia is a secondary infection from another illness like the flu. In that case it would be bacterial pneumonia, but there is also viral and fungal pneumonia. Mild pneumonia is called “Walking Pneumonia” and you may not even have a fever.
A doctor diagnosis pneumonia by doing a physical exam by listening to your lungs and respiration rate (how fast you are breathing). Pneumonia usually causes a crackling sound in the lungs from the infected fluid that is settled at the bottom. Again, the only way to know for sure is with x-rays where the infection will be visible. Doctors can run blood tests but I’m not sure what they are used for. Possibly looking for antibodies?
- Viral pneumonia accounts for approximately 1/3 of cases with an adult and 15% of cases with a child. (Wikipedia)
- There is no way to tell for sure if pneumonia is caused by bacterial or non-bacterial origin. (Source)
- Antibiotics will not help viral pneumonia.
- Pnemonia is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.(Source)
- Steroids, often prescribed for a patient with pneumonia, are immuno-suppressive drugs that make it harder to fight off infection.
- Babies and toddlers usually don’t cough hard enough to effectively clear the lungs of mucus, therefore end up with pneumonia more easily.
Back to our story…
It took hours of pacing the house and googling but I finally compiled some good information that helped us decided not to give him anything. This was one very helpful site: Kitchen Stewardship. I was on a mission to find real personal stories about beating pneumonia without antibiotics, not just studies.
Vallon has pneumonia around this time last year and we gave him the antibiotics. From my experience it seems that antibiotics are such a quick fix that it causes the person to have reoccurring problems with what they are trying to treat. I know there are times when antibiotics are medically necessary and I would never put my child at risk, so I decided to monitor him. When he had pneumonia last year he was much younger and had a fever for a week before we found out.
I am happy to say it has been over a week and Vallon is fine without the use of medications. His fever went away Tuesday night and his lungs cleared up by Sunday.
Here is what I did:
- Used lots of essential oils. The best essential oils for small children are lavender and chamomile. Cinnamon, fir needle and tea tree are safe for 6 months+. Please check out this list Safe Essential Oil Use With Babies & Children from the Hippy Homemaker for the full list. There are many oils that are not safe on small children, including eucalyptus and rosemary that should only be used on children ages 10+.
- Turned the bathroom into a sauna. I took Vallon into the bathroom and ran the shower so he could breathe in the steam. While I did this I gently patted his back to loosen the mucus. I encouraged him to cough. The sound waves alone help to break up the mucus so they can cough the infection out. Remember the mucus settles at the bottom of the lungs so go for the lower back.
- I actually patted his back a lot…nearly every time I picked him up.
- We used homemade chest rub. It’s super easy to make at home. Mix your essential oils with a carrier oil (olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil) and rub it all over them. If you have beeswax you can melt it with the oil to make it thicker so you can get it on your fingers and spread it better. If you don’t have a wide range of essential oils at home I highly recommend Matys Chest Rub. It’s inexpensive, petroleum free and smells really good!
- I made an onion cough syrup to help coat his throat and kill bacteria. Cut up some onion and put it in a jar. Then cover the onion with sugar and allow it to sit on the counter until it dissolves and becomes syrup. Store it in the fridge without straining the onion. Give your child the syrup (without the onion pieces) as often as needed or as often as you can remember! It really doesn’t taste that bad.
- I rubbed oregano juice on the bottom of his feet. I don’t know how much it helped but I wanted to include it! All I have is the juice right now but it’s nearly impossible to get down so I plan to get this Oregano Oil once we use up the juice.
- I gave him colloidal silver orally several times a day to boost his immune system. Here is the one we use: Sovereign Silver Fine Mist 2oz
- I gave him expectorant herbal tinctures to encourage coughing, like slippery elm and mullein. Here is a list of more at Annie’s Remedy.
- I gave him raw garlic every day. Yes he eats raw garlic…happily at that! He even chews it. For older children cut it small and encourage them to just drink water fast so they don’t really taste it.
- I tried to keep him propped up when he slept to help with drainage.
- I encouraged him to drink lots of fluids (water, watered down juice, kombucha, water kefir and homemade jello).
- He got lots of rest!
One Last Note:
Remember that coughing has a purpose, that is why we never use cough suppressants. I agree with Katie from Kitchen Stewardship 100% when she states that in her post! I will use valerian root and passionflower on occasion, for my boys, to help them sleep when they have an unproductive cough.
This may not be the best route for everyone and I do not encourage you to avoid a doctor visit or go against doctor orders. I just want you to be educated so you can make the decision yourself. Neither of my boys have ever had an ear infection so I think thus far we have been doing pretty good. This is just one occasion and I realize I may have gotten lucky. So, from now on I will implement these treatments at the first sign of congestion and wet-coughs so we don’t have to get to the point of pneumonia. I wish you luck in curing your little one or yourself! Don’t forget to check out the other great tips on Kitchen Stewardship.
Affiliate Links: This post contains some affiliate links. If you click on one I will get a small commission to help support my blog. You will not pay more for the product. I only recommend products I have personally used or believe will be helpful. Disclaimer: I’m not a medical profession or doctor. I state my opinions and personal experiences that I hope can help you. Please do not use this as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you are worried about your child or yourself please call a doctor. Photo Credit:Symptoms of Pneumonia: Wikipedia User: Mikael Häggström
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