It is not our intention to give a complete treatment of the diseases of the respiratory system of the first and the second infancy in this article, but it will not be wanting in utility and interest. We have willingly restricted ourselves in giving some general ideas about the facts that we have observed during our practice while treating children with homoeopathic medicines and to add the pathogenic study of remedies of which the indications are more frequent in course of respiratory diseases of children.
Our experience is enough to say that in infantile pathology, more than that of the adult and the old, Homoeopathy compared with Allopathy, has been proved to be the treatment of choice either it is considered from the angle of doctrinal conceptions or it is considered from pragmatic aspect of therapeutic results. It is besides in the treatment of children every Allopath crosses the threshold of a somewhat mysterious homoeopathy and voluntarily desists himself from the audacity of assuming the treatment of an acute case with imponderable doses absolving himself at the bottom of his heart of the excuse “that the infantile pharmacopea of Allopathy is extremely limited and that the useful dose is so near to the toxic dose that one is right to be afraid of.”
We therefore admit of that fear which is human, and is the beginning of wisdom and that the dose in medicine in the treatment of children becomes a possibility in favour of homoeopathy. When after some good results, the new doctor has gained some confidence on his method and when he timidity extends it to adult and to old, he soon finds that it is in children his method is specially successful.
In fact it is a truism that the children are eminently sensitive to our dilutions for some proved or hypothetical reasons that we have not discussed here. It is thus the method takes form. On the one hand it is inoffensive and on the other hand, so far as we are concerned, we believe that the theories of Hahnemann, applied to the diseases of the first infancy offer another source of interest.
The facts that we have witnessed have convinced us to recognise the exactitude and importance of the notions of morbid ground, of constitutions, of temperaments, of hereditary pathological predispositions. There is no doubt that we are not in a position to prove them with laboratory arguments, but the concrete reality concords exactly with the theories so that one has the right to accept them with a favourable presumption.
We are particularly interested here in acute pneumopathies of infants and here is in summary some of the deductions that we believe to be true.
The acute disease of the respiratory tract of children do not come as a bolt from the blue or as if the organism is suddenly succumbed under the attack of brutal microbes. Before the appearance of the disease the child possessed within it some possibilities of diseases.
What are these preparing possibilities? First of all the ground, specially tubercular. We have worked in a region where no familial heredity was unknown to us and our field of action was vast enough to give us numerous opportunities to make comparisons. The more a family stock is encumbered with tuberculosis, the move there are the risks of an acute affection of the respiratory system in lower ages in the descendants, particularly broncho-pneumonia. The prognosis itself will be as much grave as the familial taint is more charged.
Besides the ground, there is the second factor which is very important for the preparation of the ground. It is the chill. It is customary to read in the medical treatises, that the chill is an “occasional physical cause. But we add that “it is the opportunity that makes the thief.”
The part played by the chill in acute pneumopathies is considerably important. Its causes are different. It may be imputable to bad hygiene, insufficiently heated room, exposition to air current, negligence of the parents who let go out their children insufficiently guarded or dressed. These children generally already suffer from cold. In other cases the catching of cold may be of more general nature such as the consequence of sudden variation of atmospheric temperature or a prolonged coldness. The cause of pneumonia, bronchopneumonia, pulmonary congestions and cortico-pleuritis by the first heat, or when the days are hot and nights are cold. We think that the ground and the chill are absolutely important and during our last years of practice, we were in the habit of advising preventive measures to our clients, recommnending them to keep their children, who are suffering from cold, hotly and sufficiently dressed specially when the atmospheric condition is not favourable and when we doubt the power of resistance of the child.
As regards secondary pneumopathies, the interpretation of the origin is less different. The ground and the chill play no less an important cause. It is specially in children having tubercular constitution you will have the fear of complications: otitis, mastoiditis pleuropneumonia, pleurisy etc. But there is an other cause of complications which we have frequently observed. It is intempestive allopathic treatment. We could have cited numerous cases. We will relate here two cases which are striking.
A girl of 4 years old, having perfect resistance, is attacked since 24 hours, with measles with generalised exanthema appeared in the best of conditions. Cough and trachitis; temp. 40* Symptoms are ordinary, nothing serious. The attending physician under the pretext of avoiding complications and to lower down the temperature gave an injection of vaccin. Four hours after the eruptions retroceded, the fever began to oscillate irregularly, marasmus set in and the child died within two hours.
A baby of 9 months, breast fed, having a very good health, has since 24 hours all the general stethoscopic symptoms of bronchopneumonia. HIs doctor gave towards 1 o’clock in the morning a vaccin. The condition became serious. I was called for consultation. I found complete blockage of the lungs, symptoms of meningitis and a temperature of 40*. I gave a homoeopathic prescription but the child died before the administration of the medicine.
Dr. Allendy has shown with demonstrative arguments that when one opposes the natural course of the disease, there is caused a morbid transfer ar metastasis as well as the inhibition of the organism which may lead to worst catastrophe. The complications are infinitely rare in children if they are homoeopathically treated. In pneumopathies we have been able to cause complete disappearance in our patients the para or metapneumonic abscess as well as purulent pleurisy.
Now, what is the role of microbe and of contagion in the affections? According to us the virulency of the microbes become real only when there is the preparing causes that we have described. As regards contagion, except whooping cough we do not attach to it. any real value.
In summary we may say that homoeopathy is doubly fecund in these affections. Thanks to the ideas about the ground and atmospheric etiologic factor it may act preventively and avoid the disease. Having said this we may also say that Homoeopathy is non-toxic, and when judiciously applied in the individual case, it has the maximum chance to cure. Finally Homoeopathy is in a favourable position to formulate a prognosis.
After these preliminaries we are going to pass in review a number of remedies among those which are more frequently indicated in the acute diseases of the respiratory system of children. Our study will not be complete. We have tried to bring together the symptoms, to evaluate precisely the indications of each remedy, and we hope that it is done in such a manner that the formation will be useful to practitioners.
The remedies of the acute affections.
Aconite-Affection caused by dry cold weather, acute, sudden appearance of the disease. High fever. Thirst for cold water. Hot and dry skin. Extreme agitation with anxiety. Rapid, hard, tense pulse which cannot be depressed. Violent dry cough. Plethoric child, having good constitution, more sanguin than nervous.
Used at the beginning of coryza adenoiditis, bronchitis pneumonia and broncho-pneumonia. Stridulus laryngitis.
Allium cepa- Sneezing aggravated in the heat, amelioration in open air. Watery nasal flow, corrosive, abundant with irritation of the nostrils. Intense-non-irritating lachrymation photophobia. Coryza of infants, causing difficult of sucking. Hay fever.
Ammonium carbonicum.-Obstruction of the nose, aggravated at night. Obstruction of the nose of the infants. Sleep with open mouth Cough with rales of mucous, cannot expectorate. Dyspnoea with intense weakness. Weak heart. Syncope. Aggravation towards 3 o’ clock in the morning. Affections of the respiratory system involving the bronchi. Syncopal tendency.
Antimonium tartaricum. Bronchioli and alveoles are full of mucous which the patient cannot expectorate. Danger of being asphyxiated. Auscultation reveals all sorts of rales. Pale skin, cyanosis of the extremities. Rapid, small pulse. Thirst for cold water, nausea. Child weeps when one approaches it. Need for fresh air. Fanning of nostrils. Somnolence, drowsiness. Its place is after Ipeca when Ipeca has not the desired effect. At this stage, cough because less frequent, expectoration diminishes. An important remedy for capillary bronchitis or bronchopneumonia where it gives unexpected good results.
Apis mellifica.- A remedy of oedema and exudation. Indicated in the oedema of glottis with amelioration by cold drinks. Meningitis with influenza or acute pneumopathy. Acute piercing cry during sleep. Delirium, stupor, leading to coma. Pain in the head where the child puts its hands. The child rolls its head. The head falls below the pillow. It throws away its covers. Tries to keep itself away from any source of heat. Amelioration by cold compress. It is indicated for hastening the resorption of pleural exudation.
Arsenicum album.-Watery coryza, less abundant, very excoriating with irritation of the nostrils and upper lid. Amelioration by the application of heat. Cough with frothy expectoration. The patient must sit up for respiration. It cannot lie stretched. Dry lips, the tongue as if roasted, covered with sticky and foetid mucous. Burning in the pharynx which is dry and red. Great thirst of small quantity of cold water frequently. Extreme weakness with agitation. Aggravation towards 1 A.M. Burning pains in the thorax, upper part of the right lung and pharynx. Trachitis, influenza, pneumonia, bronchopneumonia. The case is always grave and adynamic. May be given from the very first day of the attack in the 30th dilution once a day specially when clinically the diseases is alarming. Influenza, acute pneumopathy.
Arsenicum iodatum.- A very important remedy of convalescence from disease of the respiratory system of children of tubercular constitution. The child is vivacious, irritable and impatient. Aggravation in extreme temperatures. Amelioration in open air. Adenopathies. Pneumonia having the tendency to become chronic. Asthma, convalescence, pretubercular condition.
Arum triphyllum.- A remedy characterised by irritation and dryness of the mucous membranes. Excoriation of the lips and of the nostrils with great desire to scratch. The child picks it squamous upper lip which causes burning and inflammation. Ulceration of the nostrils and of the lips. Foetid ulcerating salivation. Deep red mucous membranes of the mouth. Difficult deglutition. Nervous breakdown. Aggravation in the heat. A right- sided remedy. Infantile diseases of grave adynamic type. Laryngitis. Aphonia after over work.
Baptisia.-Grave infectious condition of typhoid type. May be indicated in acute pulmonary affections with prostration, pains of the muscles and bruised feeling. The side of which the patient lies down becomes painful delirium. Believes that is extremities are separated from the body. Foetid breath and foetidness of all excretion. Parrot tongue. Influenza, bronchopneumonia, pneumonia.
Belladonna.-With Aconite and Ferrum phos, it forms the trio of remedies of the onset of acute diseases. Sudden onset, during cold weather (dry or humid). Symptoms appear suddenly. Extreme agitation alternating with prostration. Redness and paleness of the face with sweats. Thirst. Rapid, full tense pulse but can be depressed. Suits better to nervous children (remedy of students. Aconite being the remedy of villagers). Aggravation by movements (contrary Aconite). Amelioration by cold application and in warm room. Acute delirium with prostration. Dryness of the nostrils and of the larynx with suffocating spasms. Dry, short laryngial cough, whose at night with painful points in the chest. Indicated in all acute diseases of the respiratory system at the onset, in false croup, in meningitis, congestion of the brain, convulsion. At the beginning of all the diseases of the respiratory systems.
Bromium- Sudden inflammation of the respiratory tract after a chill (sweat, current of air) when the weather is very hot, in children who are very hotly clothed during the first heat of May or June or during humid weather. Excoriating nasal flow with obstruction of during humid weather. Excoriating nasal flow with obstruction of the nose, first the right nostril then extending to the left. Spasmodic dry cough with expectoration. Sensation of Sulphur fumes in the bronchi. Laryngo-tracheal rales with difficult inspiration. Rapid formation of false membranes. Tendency to adenitis. Amelioration on the sea side and by movement, aggravation while eating and drinking (cold drinks) from the evening till the midnight, while entering in a room (cough)- Acute coryza, false croup, laryngotracheitis, bronchitis.
Bryonia- An important remedy of the respiratory system Chronologically its place is just after Aconite, Belladonna and Ferrum phos. Dryness of the mucous membranes. Intense thirst of large quantity of cold water at long intervals. Dry coryza with frontal headaches (suppressed catarrhal headaches). Dry cough with tickling of the larynx, aggravation while entering in a hot room, with painful points in the chest at fixed points (mobile points- Kali carb) specially on the right side. Sticky, brick-red expectoration. Abundant hot sweat causing amelioration. Coryza, trachitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, bronchopneumonia where it may be used in the period when the disease is fully developed. Pleurisy.
Camphora.- A very important remedy of sudden chill. If it is applied in time it can check coryza, bronchitis, even acute pneumopathies. It should be taken at the very sensation of chill, at the time of shivering or when “one feels that has caught cold,” before the stage of sneezing. If one is sensitive to cold one should keep this remedy in his pocket. Coryza with stopped nose, pain in the head. Aggravation by cold but does not like to covered. Amelioration by heat by hot drinks. Excellent remedy of collapse stage. Weakness and chill being the dominant characteristics (Sweat-Veratrum, album). Coryza, pneumonia, broncho-pneumonia, capillary bronchitis.
Cantharis-It is specially a remedy of pleurisy. According to Dr. Charge it should be given exactly when the fever begins to decrease, the pain has diminished and disappeared. Exudation continues to increase or persist. The pulse is small, frequent. Humid skin, sweat Frequent cough. Oliguria.
Causticum-Hoarseness in the morning. Sensation of ulcer in the Larynx. Dry expiratory cough, amelioration by drinking cold water. Aversion to sugar. Nervous and timid child having extreme fright of darkness. Aggravation during clear and beautiful weather, in dry cold wind. Amelioration during rainy or wet season, by hot air. Laryngitis, bronchitis.
Carbo vegetabilis- In children, it is a remedy of grave agonising stage. Its place comes when. Arsenic and Antimonium tart. have failed and the disease goes on increasing towards death. Extreme weakness (Arsenic, Muriatic acid). Collapse stage, moribund. Cold breathing. Skin cold with cyanosis, sweat, involuntary foetid stools. Superficial rapid respiration; need for fresh air, wants to be fanned. Small, uncountable rapid pulse. Thready pulse. The condition seems hopeless. Carbo vegetabilis given in such a condition often causes resurrection.
Corallia.-A remedy of whooping-cough-like cough. Violent spasmodic cough in rapid succession which causes the child to lose its breath. It becomes red, light violent. Complete break- down after the attack. Great weakness. Aggravation in the morning.
Coccus Cacti-Violent cough with viscous mucous. Thready mucous which hangs from the lower lip. Better after expectoration. Spasmodic cough in the morning. Tickling in the larynx. Vomiting of mucous ends the cough. Better while walking. Aggravation while lying on the left side, after sleep, by touch. Whooping cough, trachitis.
Cuprum metallicum – Spasmodic cough with possible convulsion. Amelioration by drinking cold water. Contraction of the extremities (closed fists). Face first red then violet. A very important remedy of whooping cough. In case of failure give Cuprum Aceticum.
Dulcamara-Stopped nose and cough after exposition to humid cold or during a sudden change of hot weather into cold and humid. It is specially a remedy of affections caused by humid cold, while Aconite is a remedy of affections caused by dry cold. Amelioration by inspiration of hot air. Aggravation by cold air intense thirst for cold water(>) Rhino-pharyngitis, bronchitis, influenza.
Drosera-Inflammation of the laryngial mucous membranes with tickling of the pharynx and larynx. Dry spasmodic cough like the crowing of a cock. Repeated attack of cough with fear of suffocation. The face of the child becomes red, violet, seems swollen. Expectoration of mucous with streaks of blood or vomiting. Expectoration and vomiting ameliorate. During attack the child catches hold of its throat or places its hand on the painful parts. It agitates because movements gives it relief. Better immediately when the child lies down at night and after mid-night. Often epistaxis, constipation. Whooping cough or whooping-cough like cough. Laryngitis, laryngo trachitis, or bronchitis. Whooping cough.
Eupatorium.-Influenza with bruised feeling, with great muscular and bone pains. Pains in the chest. Extreme sensitiveness to cold. Movements does not ameliorate. Fever with chill and shivering. Bone pains with chill. Thirst before chill, the sweat. Sadness complete breakdown. Dry cough which jerks the patient painfully. Loss of voice in the morning. Influenza, pneumonia, bronchopneumonia capillary bronchitis.
Euphrasia.-An important remedy of coryza. Abundant mucous discharge with lachrymation. Nasal discharge is not excoriating while the discharge from the eyes is excoriating and acrid (opposit, All cep.) Aggravation in the bed, in a hot room, in the evening, by humidity and in open air. Coryza, rhinopharyngitis, conjunctivitis.
Ferrum Phosphoricum.- Very important in the treatment of children. It should be known well clinically. It has its place between Aconite and Belladonna when the differenciation between the two does not seem very clear. Less nervous than Belladonna. Less plethoric than Aconite. Aconite, Belladonna and Ferrum Phos, are the trio that are used in fever of the infancy. They should also be thought of when from the onset the disease seems serious. Non-resistant child. Easily prostrated, soft pulse, rapid easily becomes irregular. Congestive heat with alternating red and pale face. Aggravation in the second part of the night, by movement, by noise, by cough. Amelioration by cold application. It is indicated at the beginning of all fevers on the clinical symptoms: adenoiditis, otitis, rhinopharyngitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, bronchopneumonia, capillary bronchitis.
Gelsemium-Tendency to cold, to influenza by humid heat when hot season changes into cold. Sensation of fullness, obstruction at the base of the nose, often one-sided, specially the left one. Photophobia. Fever with shivering and need for being covered hotly. Rhinopharyngitis, trachitis; heaviness of the limbs, slow pulse, absence of thirst desire to remain alone.
Hepar sulphur.-The least cold causes coryza, with obstruction of the nose. Aggravation by cold air. Loss of voice, worse in the morning.
Hard barking cough, very much aggravated by cold, by uncovering, in the bed, by putting out the hands from ulcer the covers. Easy sweat, specially at night, which does not cause amelioration. At the end of respiratory diseases or in chronic cases Hepar sulphur is characterised by thick acrid mucous, having the smell of rotten cheese. Hypersensitiveness to cold, to touch, to contrariety (irascible character). Coryza, rhino-pharyngitis, false croup, tracheo-bronchitis, hypertrophy of tonsils. Used generally in all catarrhal inflammation of the respiratory system, specially of the larynx and trachea in scrofulous subjects. Children with short neck having tendency to spasms of glottis, easily suffocated (F. Bernoville).
Iodium.-Clear discharge with swelling of the mucous membranes. Excoriation Crusts and obstruction of the nose, loss of smell, aggravation by cold, dry and painful cough (the childs holds its larynx) preferably in the morning. Hepatisation of the right lung, upper lobe. Fever with chill, great internal and external heat. Redness of the cheeks, agitation. Great thirst with abundant sweat, Adenitis, coryza, tracheo-bronchitis, pneumonia, pleuritis, tracheobronchial adenopathy.
Ipeca- Nasopharyngeal catarrh in fat and chubby child. It may be used in two ways in cough. Lower dilutions 3x & 6 act like an expectorant, fluidifies the bronchial mucous and of the alveoles and favours elimination. In high dilution, 30 it acts as antispasmodic and stops expectoration. A very important remedy which is to be applied in violent suffocating cough. The bronchi are full of mucous, the face is bluish. There is persistent nausea with vomiting which does not ameliorate nausea; often diarrhoea with watery and greenish stools.
The tongue is clear. Laryngo-trachitis. Bronchitis, whooping cough, pneumonia, capillary bronchitis, asthma, haemoptysis.
Kali bichromicum.-Viscous, thready nasal catarrh having the tendency to become localised in the rhino-pharynx. Pain in the root of the nose at the place of sinus. Hard, greenish, ball like mucous difficult to detach. Often there is ulceration after expulsion. Scraping cough, yellowish expectoration, abundant in the form of stingy filament, difficult to expectorate and which can be seen extending from the throat. Amelioration in the heat of the bed. Sinusitis, rhino-pharyngitis, bronchitis, whooping cough. It is besides a remedy with Pulsatilla, to be applied when the acute diseases of the respiratory system are on the decrease (bronchitis, whooping cough, pneumonia) when the cough and expectoration do not ameliorate at par with the general symptoms.
Kali carbonicum-Lymphatic children, less resistant, chilly, easily fatigued. Cough with transfixing thoracic pain, localised at the base of the right lung. Aggravation by movement. Chronic cough with bad general condition as a consequence of an acute affection of the respiratory system. Aggravation by cold Amelioration of all symptoms while bending forward.