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Natural Remedies for Pneumonia in Children

written by: Diana Cooper • edited by: Lisa Lambson • updated: 4/10/2010

Enhancing the immune system and removing mucus from the lungs are important when treating pneumonia in children. Learn what natural remedies for pneumonia can help you achieve this.

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    Pneumonia in Children

    Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs (one or both) and is most commonly caused by a bacteria or virus. It usually follows an upper respiratory infection (infection of the nose or throat). Symptoms include a sudden onset of fever, chills, shaking, and chest pain.

    Pneumonia in children can be dangerous so it is important to consult with a doctor. Many children can be treated at home if their condition is not severe and there are natural remedies for pneumonia that can be helpful in your child's recovery.

    Most cases of pneumonia are due to a viral infection and do not require antibiotics (yet some doctors will prescribe in an attempt to reduce symptoms and decrease the likelihood of secondary bacteria - there is little support for this common practice). Natural approaches to treating pneumonia in children include:

    • boosting the immune system
    • promoting removal of mucus from the lungs.
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    Natural Remedies for Pneumonia in Children

    Boosting the Immune System:

    Vitamin C is very important when enhancing the immune system. When white blood cells fight off infections, they use a large number of vitamin C.

    Echinacea and astragalus are excellent herbal remedies for boosting the immune system and are safe for children.

    To be effective, you need to start giving these natural remedies soon after symptoms begin. Use as directed or speak with a health care worker for safe doses when treating pneumonia in children.

    Removing Mucus:

    Apply a heating source to your child's chest for 20 minutes. You can use a hot water bottle, a heating pad, or a mustard poultice. All should be monitored often to ensure the heat does not cause harm to your child's skin.

    To prepare a mustard poultice:

    • mix 1 part of dry mustard to 3 parts of flour
    • add enough water to form a paste
    • spread the paste on some type of thin material made of cotton (like a pillowcase) or a piece of cheesecloth
    • fold it and place over the chest.

    After the 20 minutes of heat, perform postural drainage (to help remove mucus from the lungs):

    • have your child lie on a bed, face down, with the upper half of their body hanging over the bed (basically, you are turning the lungs upside down so the mucus can drain out)
    • leave something below (like a basin) for the mucus to fall into when your child coughs
    • do this for 5-15 minutes.

    Applying heat and performing postural drainage can be done 3-4 times a day.

    Other natural remedies for pneumonia in children include:

    Do not give remedies that suppress coughs. It is important for your child to cough up mucus.

    Expectorant herbal remedies safe for children include licorice root and wild cherry bark when used appropriately. Both herbs can decrease the viscosity (thickness) of mucus and promote removal of mucus from the lungs.

    Limit sugar, including fruit sugars and honey. Sugar greatly reduces the ability of white blood cells to fight off infections.

    Have your child drink a lot of fluids, including water, herbal teas, and diluted vegetable juices.

    You can juice 1 handful of parsley (or 1/2 handful of parsley and 1/2 handful of wheatgrass), 1 celery stalk, 1/2 beet with greens, 3 carrots, and 1 apple. All of these foods are wonderful natural remedies for pneumonia in children because they help strengthen their immune system. Don't forget to dilute it to help hydrate their bodies.

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    Disclaimer

    Please read this disclaimer regarding the information contained within this article.