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By Dr Marilena Deroukakis, a paediatrically-orientated homeopath, practising at Paedia”Tricks”.  Dr Deroukakis has a string of qualifications including (MSc (Med) Paediatric Neurodevelopment, MSc(Med) Pharmacotherapy, MA (Complementary Medicine) amongst others.  Her homeopathic prescribing is minimalist, as is the classical homeopathic way.

Symptoms of a runny nose are often just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the homeopathic prescription, and there’s no ‘one size fits all’ pill for dealing with it.  Homeopathically speaking, symptoms such as a runny or blocked nose are not the primary basis of a prescription. The mucous-overdrive, is seen rather as the end result of an entire system that has been put off kilter by some sort of stress, which depends on a person’s Achilles heel.

With allergy season now underway and remnants of winter still in the air, stopping a runny nose may be difficult. However, no matter how annoying it might be, your nose knows what it’s doing. Mucous production drowns out invaders and washes them out, rather than allowing them to reach the deeper recesses of your respiratory system where they can multiply and cause more harm.

While some noses use their filtering systems to trap the various elements in the air, others go into overdrive for ‘harmless’ elements such as dust, pollen and animal dander.

Photo credit: http://www.livestrong.com/article/260444-a-runny-nose-in-a-toddler/

Is it hayfever?

For those who are (over)sensitive, these elements are perceived to be as threatening as viruses and they receive the same mucous-drowning treatment. This misguided attempt to keep the nose clean is an allergic reaction called “hayfever”, which has little to do with hay or fever, and more to do with the itching, sneezy and watery noses that redden at the change of season when pollen abounds. An allergic reaction is traced to the release of histamine, which is the final product of a chain reaction set off by the alarm that a dangerous invader is present. Medical treatment blocks the itching, swelling and dripping mucous with anti-histamines.

What about decongestants?

From the homeopathic perspective, no two noses are alike and therefore the treatment will differ depending on the colour, quantity and consistency of the mucous; what triggers the gush and any involvement of other parts of the body (e.g. itchy eyes, scratchy throat) or mind (e.g. insomnia, lack of concentration). Not all noses conform to what presents in textbooks though, but that isn’t a problem for a homeopath, neither is the treatment hitched to an exact pathogen. It is not so important to know the bacterial culprit than it is to intimately know the reaction to it, as that particular bacterium is likely to have been cohabiting without causing much fuss until some event overwhelmed the body’s defence.

If you have a runny nose right now the homeopathic conversation around it might go as follows:

  • How did it start?
  • Is one nostril worse than the other?
  • What time of the day are you most uncomfortable?
  • What colour is the mucous?
  • Is it thick/ thin?
  • Does it burn?
  • Does it have a smell?
  • Do you have halitosis?
  • Are your throat/ears/eyes/chest also affected? How?
  • How often are you sneezing? When?
  • Has your appetite been affected? How?
  • Are you more thirsty than usual? Or not? For what?
  • Has your digestion been affected?
  • Do you have a fever?
  • What is your energy like?
  • Has your sleep been affected?

The questions lead to the choice of a homeopathic remedy that supports the body’s strategy to clear the infection…making it stronger for the next invasion.

(This article was recently published in the Your Family magazine)

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