Barbara Roberts, Homeopath

Respiratory Syncytial Virus

RSV is hitting New Zealand pre schoolers pretty hard at the moment. While Respiratory Syncytial Virus has been around for years, the severity this year has been partially attributed to the extra clean environment and the lack of exposure to viruses we have had over the last 18 months. RSV may be hard to differentiate from other respiratory viruses, as symptoms include fever, runny nose, sneezing and coughing, but there may also be wheezing or difficulty breathing.

Like any viral illness, remember that fever is the body’s natural response to fight it, and try not to artificially lower the fever unless necessary. Using homeopathy is one way to support the body through fever- it’s not unusual for the fever not to go completely but the child to pick up in energy or emotionally and be playing “normally” after an appropriate homeopathic remedy. I have an old post on fever here –

Particularly consider Belladonna if the fever is high and they are delirious or hallucinating (this seems to be an early symptom of RSV).

General support for viral illnesses-

Vitamin C, regularly and often. I like Liposomal C as you can dose less often, and Sodium ascorbate powder for regular dosing to bowel tolerance, but if your kids prefer the flavoured tablets then give those – regularly throughout the day, until bowel tolerance (smelly farts or diarrhoea).

Zinc is needed for the immune response to viruses and is worth supplementing with. I use the Clinicians Zinc oral drops because they can be added to water without much of a taste change.

Vitamin D – at this time of year our vitamin D stores are getting low- there’s not a lot of sunlight to be had and this vitamin is essential for many processes in the body. You can get drops, Sublingual tablets or supplements like cod liver oil.

There are a number of immune modulating or antiviral herbal supplements you can get- Elderberry, Echniacea, Olive Leaf, and super foods like onion, honey and garlic. Personally I make up and recommend Homeobotanical blends for both cold and cough which make a big difference.

Schuessler’s tissue salts may also help- Ferr Phos initially for immune system support, fevers and first stages of infection, then consider Kali Mur and Nat Mur for the cough and congestion- conveniently found together in combination J, or with Kali Sulph also in combination Q.

RSV seems to be characterised by a nasty cough, and some people have described it as croup like, severe cases may end up with bronchiolitis or pneumonia. I’m going to focus on the more severe coughs because that is where people need support.

Hepar Sulph – chesty cough which may have a croup like sound. With younger kids they may swallow any mucus or phlegm, but nasal mucus and phlegm is thick and yellow. Worse for cold air or cold draughts, and they may be irritable.

Spongia -dry, spasmodic cough that sounds like a seal barking. Classic croup sound they may wake at night feeling like they can’t breathe.

Arsenicum Album – asthmatic wheezy sounding cough, airways constricted and cannot breathe fully. They may also have a runny nose that can irritate the nose and upper lip, and be anxious, exhausted and lethargic and very sensitive to cold.

Bryonia – a deep hard cough that makes them sit up in bed. It may hurt to cough. Can be quite irritable and do not want to move at all, lying perfectly still. Worse at night and tend to be thirsty.

Kali Bichromicum- cough with tough, stringy phlegm that is impossible to bring up. Worse cold and worse at 2-3am.

Phosphorus – tickling cough that can be set off by talking, eating or breathing and is hard to stop, it can be exhausting. In later stages can be quite deep and it can be a good remedy in pneumonia, when the chest feels tight and constricted as if there is a great weight on it, and can be painful when coughing.

Antimonium Tartaricum- rattling mucus in the chest, may be heard with breathing as well as when coughing. Can be difficult or impossible to bring up the mucus and they may need to sit up feeling suffocated.

Importantly, when things are looking up don’t stop all supplements and homeopathics, ease back and make sure they have been well for at least 48 hours before stopping completely so as not to relapse.

Remedies often change when there is a severe respiratory virus- it doesn’t mean you aren’t treating it well, but have another look and change the remedy!

If you need support reach out to a qualified health professional. I am away until the end of the school holidays and will only be checking messages sporadically. If you cannot find a local homeopath, try who have qualified Homeopaths all over the world and you can connect to someone, even at 2am.

Photo credit- Vitolda Klein on Unsplash

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