Some of the most effective home remedies for preventing syncytial virus include the use of excess fluids, yarrow, hyssop, saline drops, and behavioral remedies like sitting upright, maintaining cleanliness, frequent hand-washing, and eliminating dairy, tobacco, alcohol, and coffee.
What is Syncytial Virus?
Although we do our best to keep our children and loved ones safe from harm, there are some infections and viruses that are extremely hard to defend against. Respiratory Syncytial Virus (commonly known as RSV) is one such “unavoidable” issue in the earliest years of life. RSV is a virus that increases the susceptibility to respiratory infections, and affects almost all children in their first 2-3 years of life. While these respiratory infections can often be handled through supportive methods, and can be handled as a bad cold. However, a small percentage of infants and children infected by RSV will develop into bronchiolitis, which will require spending time in the hospital.
This infection can be caught more than once, as the antibody protection fades over time. Adults can also be infected by RSV, but most of the symptoms will manifest as a common cold or the flu, not the serious or potentially life-threatening condition this infection can represent for younger children. It can be very difficult to breath when suffering from RSV, which is why this can be so dangerous for young children. Unfortunately, there is no known “cure” or treatment for this virus, and supportive measures in hospitals (oxygen therapy etc.) should be complemented by lifestyle remedies and alternative treatments. There are a number of dietary and behavioral choices that can significantly protect against being infected in the first place, or getting your child back to his normal healthy state if he has been infected. You should always go to see a doctor if you are worried that your child has been infected by RSV, but it is important to understand and take advantage of these home remedies too!
Home Remedies For Respiratory Syncytial Virus
Home remedies for respiratory syncytial virus include:
Eliminating Cigarette Smoke
One of the prime factors that can not only increase susceptibility to RSV, but also make it more difficult to recover from, is cigarette smoke. For young children, ensure that they are not exposed to cigarette smoke, and for adults, if you want to avoid becoming infected by RSV, try to cut back on your smoking, as it compromises your immune system and the integrity of your lungs and throat.
Alcohol and Caffeine
In terms of dietary alterations, there are a number of things that can help to prevent the onset of RSV, or help you rid yourself of the virus quickly if you’ve been infected. Topping that list is alcohol and caffeine, both of which can inflame various parts of the body when used to excess, weaken the immune system, and compromise your metabolism. Since RSV makes your immune system vulnerable, and is not a direct illness in itself, protecting your immune system in any way is a wise choice for prevention.
Keep the Air Moist
For a child suffering from RSV, it is important to keep the air moist, and while moistness is often associated with being a breeding ground for bacteria, respiratory infections can be very detrimental to the airways and respiratory tracts, so they need to be lubricated and functioning normally to help expel the virus, and also prevent irritation and pain, as well as ensuring proper breathing and oxygen intake.
Similarly, you want to be sure that your child is drinking plenty of fluids, both to flush out the virus, and also to keep the throat soothed. Excessive coughing and sore throats commonly accompany respiratory infections, so if you are able to make the child comfortable and reduce crying, it will put less strain on the already overworked chest and lungs, helping the body naturally recover quicker.
Since respiratory infections can make breathing difficult, anything that coats or thickens the mucus in the respiratory tracts, throat, and lungs is a bad idea. Dairy products tend to accumulate and thicken phlegm, and if a child is already struggling to breathe, complicating that with milk-based products is not a good choice.
Keeping surfaces clean and washing your hands frequently are good preventative measures for catching RSV in the first place, and when dealing with a child who is suffering from this infection, it is also an essential measure to take. Their immune system will be compromised by this infection, so any additional pathogens or dangerous substances you may have on your hands or around the home can further complicate the recovery process.
In the alternative herbal world, there are also a number of solutions for RSV. Hyssop is known to significantly reduce mucus and also acts as an expectorant, which will help to expel excess mucus and phlegm, thereby allowing healthier, normal breathing in young children.
This is another herbal remedy that has been shown to stimulate the respiratory system and increase circulation, which can help eliminate toxins and increase overall immune health. Before giving strong herbs to children, however, it is recommended that you speak with a medical professional.
Although this seems like common sense, sitting upright is a much better position than lying down if you want to keep your breathing clear. Mucus and phlegm can accumulate in the respiratory tracts when laying down, but with gravity working on your side, sitting upright can keep your breathing normal and even.
A Final Word of Warning: Although almost every child will suffer through RSV at some point in their young lives, it is not something that should be taken lightly. Respiratory infections can be very dangerous for children, and medical attention should be sought. These herbal and home remedies are suggested in conjunction with medical care, particularly if the symptoms are severe, as they might require oxygen therapy to ensure safe treatment.