Excerpts from LiveChat with Dr Bhavi Mody: Immunity of children against cold and cough
: Are inhalers the only option for cold and cough?
A: Inhalers are a better way of medication than oral medicines as they directly act on lungs. But that is not the only option. Homeopathy helps strengthen immune system and can be started along with conventional medicine. As you see improvement, one can be put only on homeopathy.
Q: What are the best natural remedies for cough, cold and indigestion?
A: Some of the effective natural remedies for cough are honey with turmeric, concoction of pepper, cinnamon, ginger, honey and tulsi leaves. For cold, you can have steam with ajwain, onion juice, eucalyptus oil or cinnamon. And, indigestion in children is mainly due to junk food. So to cure it, limit the junk food intake and make them go on a light diet with plenty of fluids. Other remedies include ajwain and pudin hara. You may also try homeopathy.
Q: Can any fixed homeopathic medicine be given for a particular problem every time it occurs, if it has worked once. For example R4 for diarrhoea and Kali bich 30 for cough?
A: Homeopathy is a tailor made science. One remedy is not suitable for all and generally we take a lot of things into account before prescribing a medicine. OTC medicines available have a few limitations and if you are aiming at building immunity, constitutional treatment is a must.
Q: What can I do to boost the immunity of my child?
A: It is a known fact that what we eat has a definite impact on our health and immunity. So if you are aiming at overall good health or trying to ward off the recurrent colds and flus which your little one suffers, then here are the immunity boosting foods you should look at. Vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes and other green leafy vegetables. Root vegetables including sweet potatoes, carrots and potatoes. Other food items include garlic, onions, ginger, peppers, squash, apricots, oranges, lime, guavas, and berries. Pulses such as peas, beans and lentils. Nuts and seeds like almonds, walnut, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds. Curd, turmeric and honey are also helpful but should not be given to kids below 1 year of age. A healthy diet is the key to immunity. Also, vitamin D is very important for growth and immunity, so make sure your kids are exposed to gentle morning sunlight. Along with this, ensure that your child gets enough sleep. Proper rest is needed for repair and growth of cells. Keep the child away from anxiety and stress. Stress lowers immunity.
Q: My child is often down with cold and cough, ever since he/she started going to school. What could be the reason?
A: Do not worry; this is quite common in kids when they are exposed to large groups.
Q: My child does not seem to have any interest in eating food and has negligible appetite. What should I do?
A: Children easily pick up on things and are keenly observant. Therefore, you will have to make the concept of food and eating, a little interesting for your child. Try and make stories around food, for example, you can relate popeye to spinach or make games with colours, etc. Involve your child in the process of choosing and cooking the food.
Q: What are the advantages and limitations of homeopathy?
A: Homeopathy is a safe, gentle and effective natural mode of treatment with no side effects. It works very well for women and child ailments. But there are limitations to each science. While homeopathy is a wonderful system of medicine, it is not useful in emergency cases and cases that need surgical intervention. And, even though there are studies to prove efficacy of homeopathy in Diabetes and hypertension, it is best taken as an adjunct to conventional medicine.
Q: Is there a standard medicine that can be given for occasional colic? At least to ward off the emergency situation?
A: Mag phos 6x can be safely used for occasional colic.
Q: Does homeopathy have preventive/ immunity booster medicines too or only for specific ailments like cold and cough?
A: Homeopathy works on both, your mind and body; hence, it increases your immunity in general. It helps to remove recurrent tendencies to colds and other ailments. Homeopathic remedies help strengthen the immunity by stimulating the body's ability to heal itself by giving very small doses of highly diluted substances, which in larger doses would produce similar illness or symptoms. The best thing about homeopathic remedies is that they are safe and without any side effects. The remedies are FDA approved and FDA points out that it is almost impossible to find any active ingredient in it.
Q: Is it true that some foods need to be avoided if one is under long term homeopathic treatment?
A: You only need to avoid certain foods for 10 minutes before and after the intake of medicines as it works through the rich nexus of capillaries in the tongue.
Q: Does deficiency of Vitamin D lead to recurrent cold and cough problems?
A: Deficiency of Vitamin D lowers immunity and hence, you tend to catch cold or cough.
Q: Is it true that there's a regulated amount of alcohol in homeopathic medicines?
A: Yes, the medicines have an alcoholic base.
Q: Which food items are rich in Vitamin D?
A: Sunlight is the major source of Vitamin D which is otherwise not found in many food items.
Q: What is the minimum level of Vitamin D required in the body?
A: Anything above 30 mg/ml is good.
Q: Is it safe to treat ailments like malaria, chicken pox through homeopathy? Given that the recovery time is slow.
A: Chicken pox responds wonderfully to homeopathy. Even though it is viral and runs its own course, the symptoms are managed well. Similar is the case with HFMD (Hand, foot, and mouth disease). Malaria is generally cured with simultaneous treatment of homeopathy and allopathy, as rapid destruction of red blood cells (RBC) can pose a threat.
Q: My son has been sweating a lot. Is it normal?
A: Sweating is a body's way of eliminating toxins and is very individualistic. It is okay if he sweats a lot.
Q: Is Alfalfa tonic useful for building appetite?
A: Yes, Alfalfa is a good remedy for poor appetite. It works on the digestive juices and builds appetite.
Q: My son suffers a lot from constipation. Is there any medicine for that?
A: Firstly, increase fibre and water content in his diet. And, yes there are medicines for constipation. For this, a classical homeopath records all the symptoms in a homeopathic evaluation. A homeopath tries to uncover symptoms and idiosyncrasies (including one's sleep positions, food cravings, hobbies, dreams, and fears) to define one's personality on all levels–physical, emotional and mental. Based on this detailed understanding, the homeopath then finds/chooses remedy that most closely matches one's physical symptoms and traits. Therefore, without any history it is difficult for me to prescribe appropriate medication. You can try Nux Vomica though.
Q: My baby is 5.5 months now. How can I increase her immunity? Can I give her curd now?
A: Breast feed as much as possible. Also, you can give immunity boosting foods once you start weaning. Start weaning only after 6 months of age though. Expose her to morning sun for the Vitamin D dose. Probiotics and prebiotics are also helpful. You can give your child curd after 6 months of age.
Q: My allopathic doctor says continuous use of homeopathy, where metals are used as medicines, can have side effects to liver and intestine. Is it true?
A: In homeopathy, there is a process called potentisation where the drug substance is diluted and inherent power is released. After which the medicines become harmless.
Also read more about :15 natural remedies to treat your little one's cold and cough