If your children attend daycare, preschool, or school, you have probably heard about Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and are wondering what are the best ways to protect your kids from RSV.
It’s important to focus on preventing RSV because there is not a prescription, oral or inhaled, that effectively treats RSV infections. So doctors who only practice Western medicine focus on managing the symptoms that accompany RSV.
But, in Integrative medicine, we take a more proactive approach to RSV. We focus on using the innate healing properties of the body to strengthen the immune system, the gut, and cellular processes to prevent and treat this virus.
5 Best Ways to Protect Your Kids from RSV
1. Viral Prevention
Preventing viruses should be your first step in protecting your kids from RSV and other illnesses that may be active in your community. Besides the standard guidance like social distancing, avoiding contact with people who are sick, covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing, and practicing good hand-washing habits, you may also want to consider these preventive measures:
- Ensure your kids are getting enough immune-boosting vitamins such as Vitamin C, Zinc, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D.
- Minimize sniffles and sneezing with natural antihistamines such as quercetin and stinging nettles.
- Reduce demands on their immune systems with natural detoxing agents such as glutathione, NAC, sunshine, and sweating.
- Boost immune and gut strength by eating foods that support their immune and digestive systems such as organic greens, cruciferous veggies, bone broths, sea vegetables, beets, onions, garlic, thyme, rosemary, ginger, turmeric.
- Make sure they are getting enough prebiotic fiber and probiotics to balance the gut microbiome.
- Stop invading microorganisms by using oral rinses for the tonsils such as pharmaceutical grade mixtures of saline and hydrogen peroxide (daily and directly after possible exposure).
2. Ear Infection Prevention
Use warmed garlic oil to fill the ear canals to help the inner ear tubes drain the mucus that backs up from a clogged nasal passage. Keeping fluid out of the inner ears prevents bacterial ear infections that may need antibiotics. Antibiotics can harm the natural flora in our gut (the microbiome) which is the biggest key to health.
- Make garlic oil or purchase garlic mullein oil (use only glass bottle).
- Heat oil to only warm and test on skin to make sure it is not too hot.
- Have the child lay down on their side.
- Fill the ear canal up completely until it pools at the outer ear.
- Wait 2-5 minutes.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Do this twice a day for prevention; up to every three hours for treatment.
3. Help the Lower Respiratory Tract
- Loosen mucus in the lungs with nebulized saline or colloidal silver. (under the guidance of a trained medical provider)
- Use a hand cupping technique to percuss the posterior chest to stimulate the movement of mucus.
- Diffuse decongesting or antiviral oils such as peppermint, lemon, orange, eucalyptus, tea tree. (note: always keep out of reach of the children as some are toxic if ingested directly)
4. Viral Treatment
If your child is infected and becomes ill in spite of preventive measures, you might consider trying these Body Decongesting Methods.
- Have your child drink warm fluids (such as bone broth or warm water with honey and lemon) every 1-3 hours to stay hydrated, loosen the mucus, and unblock the upper airway.
- Use nasal suction devices (like a bulb syringe) to pull the mucus from the nose.
- Be sure to use nasal saline sprays to moisten and loosen the mucus before suctioning.
- Follow with a colloidal silver spray after suctioning. This acts as a natural antimicrobial.
- Avoid giving kids substances that can cause congestion such as dairy, corn syrups, packaged grains, preservatives, and processed foods.
5. Get a Pediatric Respiratory Exam
If you have concerns about your child’s breathing, especially if there is an increased effort to breathe, see a healthcare provider right away. Your pediatrician should give your child a thorough exam to assess breathing effort, circulation, hydration status, and oxygen levels. Inhaled medicines and/or supplemental oxygen are sometimes needed.
About Dr. Nicole Craven
Dr. Nicole Craven is an integrative medicine pediatrician and a global holistic health educator treating patients at Robinhood Integrative Health in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She has more than 18 years of experience helping patients achieve their best health through nourishment for improved cellular function, medical-grade supplementation, herbal medicine, and gut-immune-brain health.
Dr. Nicole received her MD from Tulane University and completed her pediatric residency at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston. Following her residency, she completed Dr. Andrew Weil’s Integrative Medicine Fellowship where she “became aware of the power of holistic medicine to find and treat the root cause of dysfunction, restore cellular function, and achieve wellness.” And she later became a certified health coach with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) in New York.
She likes to spend her free time with her pup Liam, family, and close friends cooking, creating, moving, and being outdoors.