(Image from Wikipedia showing lungs with the steeple sign as seen on an AP neck X-ray of a child with croup - All Rights Reserved)
When I was a senior in high school it returned with a vengeance although the medical doctors deemed it a viral lung infection rather than croup. It felt like croup, it sounded like croup and a cool vaporizer helped me breathe like it did when I had croup as a child. But it was not called croup by the doctors.
Regardless, I had the barking cough and the symptoms worsening at night along with difficulty breathing. As a result I came very close to missing my senior Prom because my doctor advised my parents to not let me go out into the night air until I was completely fever and cough free. Luckily I managed to recover with only 2 days to spare.
From that point forward I never really got a head cold. I always caught a chest cold which closely resembled croup although my doctors told me you can't really get croup after you're a baby or a child. Is that really true?
Actually it's not. Croup is just one type of viral infection.
When I was in cosmetology school at Paul Mitchell I came down with a raging chest cold which quickly progressed into what the doctors termed bronchitis.
Even though I had the barking cough and the worsening of the symptoms at night, they deemed it to be bronchitis. I still had my doubts, but the doctors had to give it a label to treat it. So be it.
(Image of bronchial infection tied to bronchitis - Wikipedia - All Rights Reserved)
However, due to issues with antibiotics (not indicated with croup but may be indicated with bronchitis) I don't have the option to pop some pills (steroids are more likely to be prescribed) and instantly get better.
For me I have had to find my own route to eliminating my chronic lung challenges. After limited success with medical doctors, I went the alternative method with very good results.
Acupunture To The Rescue
When I wan't able to fight off an advancing virus a few weeks ago I hit my speed dial for my croup. After one hour session with tiny acupuncture needles I felt significantly better. Dr. Bai suggested Chinese herbs which I acquired and religiously took as he had recommended. They also helped noticeably after each dose.
After a follow-up visit I was able to sleep through the night without waking up with the barking cough and the labored breathing. By the second follow-up visit I was 80% healed and so relieved that most of my symptoms including my drained energy were gone.
Dr. Bai whom I have been seeing for some years always advises me to come in for regular maintenance sessions with the needles. It's not that I don't like the needles. They really don't hurt. And I adore Dr. Bai. He's always on time, is extremely efficient and is a genius at knowing exactly how to help me.
The main reason is that when I feel well and have lots of energy I don't want to take the time from my busy to go to the doctor.
(Image of acupuncture treatment courtesy of Haap, Inc., - All Rights Reserved)
Of course that's always a mistake when the next bronchitis, croup or other unnamed lung inflammation hits.
This time I promised Dr. Bai I would make an effort to visit for regular tune-ups and I would continue to take a variety of herbal remedies to keep my known lung challenges at bay.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not anti-medical profession. I believe in balancing the two disciplines and getting the best of both worlds. Unfortunately for me I have a history of not responding well to antibiotics or similar drugs. I do have a very good track record with herbs, vitamins, homeopathy and flower essence therapies.
Finding Solutions When You're Ill
When I'm ill and can't work my normal 18 hour day schedule I really just want to find solutions, regardless of whether it's alternative or traditional.
Herbal medicine is often an important aspect in treating a wide range of physical challenges. It's also used in the treatment of illness and injury prevention. For some people it can actually help to improve energy balance and athletic performance.
Listed below are some of the herbal formulas* which have helped me with my lungs, building up my immune system which if optimal could block the lung infections in the first place.
Please understand that I am not recommending anyone take these herbs but discuss them with your own herbalist or physician to see if they might work for you and your physical challenges.
Always consult with your own physician before taking any type of formulation.
Siberian Ginseng (Eleutheroccocus senticosus) has a wide range of health benefits attributed to its suggested including, helping the body find balance and adapt to stresses, supporting the immune system, reducing inflammation, and promoting improved cognitive and physical performance. It has been shown to help increase energy levels and physical endurance.
(Image of Siberian Ginseng - Eleutheroccocus senticosus - from Wikipedia - All Rights Reserved)
It is anti-inflammatory, immunogenic and chemoprotective in nature and is gentle enough to use on a regular basis. It has been shown in studies to enhance athletic performance in all but the most elite athletes.
Cordyceps (C. sinensis) is also a very safe and gentle tonic. It is a very unusual herb. In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is considered to be a lung tonic and has a long history of use in asthma treatment due to its effects of improving "the breath" and decreasing inflammation. Cordyceps has been shown to enhance the immune system, relax spasms of the heart, bronchi and intestines, improve sexual function, and invigorate energy levels while keeping one relaxed. Cordyceps is often for people with exercise-induced asthma and those with weakness of lung function.
* The improper use of herbal medicine can be dangerous. Please always consult with your practitioner before taking any herbal products.
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