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Do You Know Two Crazy Symptoms of Pneumonia for Toddlers? (& Home Remedies to Kick it Without a Prescription)

Pneumonia and its symptoms can be hard to spot without a stethoscope for parents of babies and toddlers, but this respiratory infection has some unique symptoms in that age group.

Our little guy fought off pneumonia naturally twice before his second birthday, and we gratefully share what we learned here about how to beat pneumonia naturally and home remedies for pneumonia.

We’ve beat croup naturally before, too.

home remedies for pneumonia - mom with sick child

Pneumonia in Toddlers

Nobody wants to go to a well-child checkup and come home with a diagnosis that could mean a hospital stay.

My previous experience with pneumonia was pretty slim: memories of my brother being in the hospital with it for a few days when he was six and hearing of it being the final (losing) battle for elderly relatives far too often.

stethoscope and thermometer for detecting potential pneumonia in toddlers

When our pediatrician kept listening to the same spot on my toddler’s chest at John’s 15-month checkup, I could tell that something wasn’t right.

She heaved a sigh before saying, “I wish it wasn’t there, but it’s there. He’s got a touch of pneumonia on this side.”

Pneumonia??? Really?!?

The boy had been quite sick three and four days prior, feverish, lethargic, and just wanting to nurse and sleep all day. He didn’t leave my arms for 24 hours. It never seemed to be anything out of the ordinary in the midst of cold and flu season in November, and when his fever broke in the middle of the night, we thought he was on his way up.

His appetite stunk for the next two days but his attitude was great, but still when I took him in that Tuesday morning before Thanksgiving, I never expected him to have a serious respiratory infection.

Pneumonia is defined as an inflammation of the lungs caused by an infection, the root of which might be viral, bacterial, or even fungal.1

If you have viral pneumonia, antibiotics won’t help, and although you’re still contagious, other people won’t necessarily develop pneumonia even if they catch the same virus.

It could present itself as a simple cold for the next person, even though you were lucky enough to have it settle in your lungs and irritate them.

If you have bacterial pneumonia, it’s another story entirely. It’s contagious as pneumonia, first of all, and antibiotics would be effective and highly recommended to avoid more serious consequences. Pneumonia happens to be the eighth leading cause of death in the United States, in case you wanted to be freaked out today.2

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, nurse or trained medical professional of any kind, and I don’t even pretend to be one on the Internet. I don’t know much. Take this with a grain of salt, just as you would a conversation with a friend, and do your own research and consult with a doctor before treating something as serious as pneumonia at home. I’m just sharing a story, not giving medical advice.

Sleeping toddler with teddy bear

Common Symptoms of Pneumonia in Toddlers That Are Different Than Adults

For adults, two huge signs of pneumonia, beyond basic flu-like symptoms that could mean anything, include chest pain that worsens while inhaling and coughing up mucus (sputum).3

A toddler can’t tell you if it’s hard to breathe, and unfortunately, they can’t really even cough effectively enough to clear their lungs of mucus when it’s so deep.

(Notice that coughing has a purpose, which is why we don’t use cough suppressants around here but for the rare occasion when Lympha Rub doesn’t work to allow for sleep at night. One drop of that herbal/essential oil remedy on the very back of the throat usually stops a cough within ten minutes or less, for children over 5 or adults.)

When John had pneumonia, he had gotten a cold from one of his older brothers and sisters. See how nice it is when your children learn the virtue of sharing? #ugh

He was generally fine all day, but at night, he would have coughing fits that would wake him. A few nights in a row, he coughed so hard that he vomited.

At his age, with nighttime nursing and a poor appetite, it really looked more like spit-up, so it seemed less of a big deal than “real” vomiting. Besides, it was obvious that he had gagged himself.

What we didn’t yet understand was that it was the mucus that simply wasn’t coming up that was gagging him and making him vomit. If your toddler seems to have a chest infection and this happens at night, it’s something to pay attention to, particularly if it happens more than once.

Note: Coughing leading to vomiting certainly does not mean someone has pneumonia – child or adult – but it’s something that can go on your checklist to at least ask the right questions.

We’ve had another frightening experience with coughing and vomiting – it ended up being whooping cough.

When I put my ear to John’s chest without any stethoscope, I could clearly hear a wheezing sort of sound – the toddler’s version of, “Man, it really feels tight when I inhale.” Another sign to watch for.

In our guy, poor appetite was a sign that he was still sick, but for your toddler, that might just mean they’re a toddler. Winking smile

The final symptom that surprised us enough to send us to the Emergency Room in the middle of the night almost is not even lung related.


Constipation is a Common Symptom for Young Children with Pneumonia

That February, after we kicked pneumonia in November without resorting to antibiotics, John got another cold from big sister. (He may have actually caught this one himself, thanks to shopping carts and library story time.)

We kept a really close eye on his coughing and pulled out all the stops as far as natural means of fighting infection that we had at our disposal.

Each time he’d wake up coughing at night, I cringed, waiting for the mucus to come flying out. It never did, so I thought we were in the clear. He was starting to get better, we thought, when he awoke one night all out of sorts.

My husband couldn’t calm him down back to sleep and brought him to me for the magic nursies.

When he wouldn’t nurse, we looked at each other in shock. If you have a baby who’s addicted to nursing like all four of mine have been, you’ll know what we were thinking.

We knew something weird was going on.

Over the next 30 minutes, we tried everything we could think of to calm him down, all the while worrying and watching him cry, lay down, get up, not allow people to hold him, fight nursing, and writhe in pain.

He would lay his head down on the floor like he was so tired he couldn’t stand up anymore, but his lower half was still ooching and scooching his body across the floor like a vacuum cleaner.

Every time we picked him up, his whole body struggled to get down.

It looked like he was in severe abdominal distress, and as the minutes ticked by, the worry mounted like a knotted hose.

We started wondering if he had eaten something that was lodged in his intestines.

We questioned: Did he have any food out of the ordinary today or yesterday? (No.) His appetite was very poor, so most of his nourishment had been breastmilk. I hadn’t eaten anything out of the ordinary either.

I rubbed his belly, we put him in the bath with a warm washcloth to try to encourage a bowel movement, and finally, he threw up a few times.

When you praise God for vomit, you know you’re a parent.

“Ah, of course,” we thought. “His tummy really hurt! Now that his body got rid of whatever that was, we should be able to calm him now.”

What would you do if the writhing and crying didn’t stop or slow down at all after vomiting?

Going to the Emergency Room

The doctor on call (in my tiny hometown, because of course this sort of thing only happens after a 5-hour drive away from home) said it could very well be an abdominal obstruction and to go to the ER right away.

The closest hospital is a good 45-minute drive.

Let’s just say it didn’t take us quite that long.

He was sleeping (and still breathing) by the time we arrived (Murphy’s Law of Emergency Rooms, I hear), so a lot of the stress began to subside. My husband says I “lost it,” but for the permanent record, I was just fervently praying, not out of control.

Just so you know.

It turns out, after a much debated chest X-ray that will definitely remain the worst five minutes of my year, that constipation is a side effect of pneumonia in many little ones. I still don’t quite understand why, but I hope someone can learn from our experience.

Update: It hadn’t been days without a bowel movement, just 36 hours maybe. It was more that there was a bunch of gas in his intestines that caused the pain, but the doc said that’s really common for young ones with pneumonia. Strange.

Now to teach Google that if a parent searching for “abdominal pain in toddler with cough,” particularly if it’s the middle of the night, they need to read this post.

We came home with a suppository that we never used and a prescription for antibiotics that we never filled, instead we used the home remedies I’ll list below.

There is no shame in using antibiotics when they are medically necessary. Here’s How to Reverse Side Effects of Antibiotics.

blue and white medicine capsules on a white counter

Symptoms of Pneumonia in Babies and Toddlers

If you need a little recap of those symptoms of pneumonia in babies, here you go:

  • flu-like symptoms: fever, lethargy, cough, etc.
  • coughing so hard the child vomits, especially at night
  • wheezing noise in chest
  • severe constipation/abdominal pain

Wish You Knew All the Answers to Keep Your Family Healthy?

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I’d love to send you a 7-day “Quick Start Guide” email mini-course to give you Health Agency! When something goes wrong in your family, YOU can be the agent of healing and not allllllways have to call a doctor for every little thing.

Imagine this email series as a virtual chat over the backyard fence with your own neighbor, a wise older mom who’s raising 4 kids with intention, trying to avoid unnecessary medication and being kind to the earth.

Looking forward to connecting to help you learn EXACTLY what you need to know to stock your natural remedies “medicine cabinet,” deal with normal childhood ailments, and even the dreaded, “What’s that on my skin?” issue! 🙂

Treating Pneumonia at Home in Babies and Young Children Naturally

If you ever read anything I write and think it is wise, or you think I noticed or realized something you didn’t, believe me, it’s not me. It’s in my genes.

My mom is probably the most insightful person I know.

Back in the early 80s when her kids were little, she pondered the workings of Dimetapp. Her thinking, my paraphrase: If this thickens mucus so my kids can sleep without coughing, wouldn’t it also thicken mucus throughout the system, like the ears? And don’t we want the noses to run to get the virus out? I’m hesitant to use it often…

We had Dimetapp, which I was a real champ about taking (picture lots of crying in despair and parental counting to 10…), only if we absolutely could not sleep.

I was very proud of my mom when it came out decades later that people really shouldn’t use medicine in the category of Dimetapp very often, and especially on children younger than six. I never had an ear infection as a kid, but my mom watched a number of friends’ kids – who were frequent Dimetapp users – have terrible ear problems as they grew.

So when my mom told me in February that she had a hunch about how to help John relieve his chest congestion, I was all ears.

She had read about how kids with cystic fibrosis have awful mucus in the lungs, and parents do a special sort of steam treatment and back clapping to help them loosen it up and cough it out.

She also admitted that she had wondered if this would work when John had his first bout of pneumonia in the fall, but since she hadn’t confirmed it, she didn’t tell me.

And why not??? It’s brilliant!

A quick Google search yielded exactly that recommendation for kids with pneumonia or any chest congestion. I’m telling you, it works amazingly well.

Home Remedy for Pneumonia or Chest Congestion in Babies and Toddlers

steam shower for pneumonia in toddlers
  1. Turn your shower on nice and hot and allow the bathroom to steam up.
  2. Keep your baby/toddler close to the steam, using the shower curtain as a “hood” for you and the child if need be (if your bathroom is large and doesn’t steam up, for example).
  3. Using a cupped hand, clap the child on the back – nice and hard, but without hurting them of course – until they cough. (We were so pleasantly surprised that it really worked. Within a few claps, John would really give a good hack.)
  4. Take a break, then do it again. Keep a towel or clothing between you and the baby so you’re not clapping on bare skin, and try to work around the whole chest/lung area, front, back, and sides. This commenter really knows what she’s doing and has great tips for success.
  5. Stay in the steam for at least ten minutes.
  6. Optional: Add a few drops of essential oils that are good for the lungs and breathing, or are anti-bacterial in nature, like fir needle, cedarwoodpeppermint (age 6+), cinnamon, camphor, or lemon. (There are others too.)

We called it a steam party, and my older son who was coughing at the time as well got to come join us. He didn’t like when I clapped him on the back, but it was worth it!

I also clapped my toddler on the chest, particularly because we knew exactly where the congestion had settled, so I focused on that spot a lot. He coughed every time.

Other Natural Home Remedies for Pneumonia

Now that our little guy has fought off pneumonia twice, with two scripts for antibiotics that we can add to our virtual scrapbook of unfilled or unused prescriptions, I feel like I know a little about how to treat pneumonia naturally at home.

Use oils with antibacterial & antiviral properties

  • garlic oil (like this one) or a purchased extractive of garlic on the feet
  • oil of oregano or tea tree in a carrier oil, like olive oil or coconut oil (use the code STEWARDSHIP to get 10% off) , on the feet
  • germ fighting oil blends are great
    • with a carrier on the feet
    • diffused into the air, either with a diffuser, vaporizer, or even simply a few drops in some water in a pot, simmering (not boiling) on the stove. Make sure to keep an eye on the pot so it doesn’t go dry.
  • do any of these every few hours or even more frequently

Keep up with probiotics, especially after the fact.

essential oils home remedies for pneumonia

Get helpful oils for the respiratory system into the air

home remedies for pneumonia, essential oil diffuser

Attack with other antibacterial/antiviral natural remedies

  • We used a few sprays of propolis a few times a day
  • I took Pau d’Arco tablets, Olive Leaf extract tablets, and lots of probiotics for him (at least 2 hours apart, so that the antibac methods don’t immediately kill the probiotics)

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At Home Remedies: Safety Notes

It’s important to know enough about essential oils to be safe with them! I learned a TON at this very helpful post and you should read it, too, especially about eucalyptus, cinnamon, and peppermint for children.

I’ve also recently learned not to use homeopathics and EOs at the same time, for example, which is something desperate parents need to know when presented with a huge list of remedies like this post. Just be sure not to use a remedy (or multiple remedies at once) and forget to treat them like medicine just because they’re “natural” and you read about them on some blog somewhere. 😉

Read my own post on the potential dangers of essential oils. They can be great if used correctly, but you need to know enough to know what you don’t yet know…

More Pneumonia Treatment Recommendations from Readers

I always learn more from the community here at KS than I teach. When I posted on Facebook about the ill-fated checkup in the fall:

The silver lining of J’s “well” child checkup today? I’ll be prepared to write a post someday on “What to do when your 15mo has pneumonia and you hate antibiotics.” Sighhhhh..

I got lots of wisdom. Here’s the best:

  • Lots recommended essential oils and probiotics as a first course of action
  • Lavender and eucalyptus with a carrier on the chest and breathing in a bowl of how water with a towel hooded over the two of you
  • Prayer!
  • Extra doses of Vitamin C & D
  • Sleeping propped upright
  • Echinacea and goldenseal
  • Raw honey (use the code Katie15 for 15% off at that site!), fresh lemon, fresh garlic, cayenne pepper
  • Colloidal silver, in a nebulizer for the lungs
  • Chiropractic and standard process whole food vitamins (many readers recommend chiropractics any time I’m looking for “sick kid” advice as well…in fact, I finally have an appointment with one for our middle child next week, so I’m taking “Natural Health Month” steps too!)
  • 8 drops lavender essential oil and 8 cloves garlic: food process, strain, and rub on chest every waking hour until healed. (I’ve learned that garlic can be a bit caustic, like when I use it on the feet for a natural treatment for ear infections, so I’d use some olive oil in the mix, too, although I haven’t tried this one myself at all.)
  • Epsom salt baths for liver and glutathione support
  • Ivy extract
  • Liposomal Vitamin C
  • This health program was recommended by a reader; know that I have no idea what it’s like or what it costs…
  • And many gave moral support for the idea that sometimes, modern medicine is necessary and welcome, and to not beat myself up over giving him antibiotics but just follow with lots of probiotics.

Overall I’m so thankful that we were able to treat pneumonia naturally without the use of antibiotics or any other prescription drug. John pulled through the first time and kicked it fairly easily – within 24-48 hours of that awful hospital visit – the second time, when we used the steam party treatment.

I can even be grateful for the experience in a way, because every time a child gets sick, I become more versed in natural medicine and home doctoring, and I’m happy to be able to share the story here to inspire others to be able to treat pneumonia at home, too.

RELATED: Home Treatment of Cellulitis.

For the record, I would have filled the prescription had any of the symptoms worsened: the question we always ask when leaving the doctor’s with a diagnosis like this is, “What do we watch for that signifies it’s getting worse and that we should fill the prescription?”

Have you ever used a home remedy for chest congestion or treated pneumonia at home?

home remedies for pneumonia


  1. Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 27 Nov. 2017,
  2. “Leading Causes of Death.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17 Mar. 2017,
  3. Conrad, M. (2019, November 4). Pneumonia Symptons, 4 Stages, Causes and Cure.

Other Natural Health Posts:

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, nurse or trained medical professional of any kind, and I don’t even pretend to be one on the Internet. I don’t know much. Take this with a grain of salt, just as you would a conversation with a friend, and do your own research and consult with a doctor before treating something as serious as pneumonia at home. I’m just sharing a story, not giving medical advice.

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.
Category: Natural Health

65 thoughts on “Do You Know Two Crazy Symptoms of Pneumonia for Toddlers? (& Home Remedies to Kick it Without a Prescription)”

  1. Thank you for the artical! I agree with you on many things! Prayer is key. I personally feel that God made the earth to heal and help us. The bible can truly give us guidence and counsel on well being…. thank you for the read. Happy your family is healthy! Love from Cali… aiyana

  2. Elisabeth Tirado

    So is it ok to add pepermint to the steam tent for a teo year old? Link said no pepermint oil for kids under 6.

  3. My one year old is recovering from pneumonia. We are on holiday abroad and I didn’t have access to my natural remedies. He ended up in hospital on IV anti biotics which is the first time he has ever been ill, so a shock to his system and ours. His stomach is weak and can’t hold down food so he is losing a lot of weight rapidly. Any tips on how to feed him in a way that it will stay down and what to feed? He is currently having watered down almond milk instead of his usual goats milk. Thanks and well done for being so resourceful! X

  4. It’s possible that the constipation is due to the relationship or pairing of the lungs and large intestine in Chinese Medicine. They are both the metal element, and when one organ is stressed, the other one can become stressed as well. I see this a lot with my bodywork clients. Those with gluten sensitivity will have gut distress after ingesting gluten, but then the lungs will tighten up and they feel they can’t get a deep breath. The lungs do better when the gut damage is healed. So, it can go both ways.

    When I had parasites in my large intestine, I kept getting bronchitis. When I finally got rid of the parasites, my lungs were stronger. I can get over a chest cold now without antibiotics.

    I think many children with food sensitivities are mistakenly diagnosed with asthma, when what they really need is to heal their guts, and then their lungs would be stronger.

    Thanks for the recipes!

  5. Our 2 year old had a similar thing happen at his 2-year well baby visit. I honestly thought he had the most minor cold ever, and then the doctor prescribed antibiotic. He said if we didn’t start them right away, we’d have to have a chest x-ray. He turned out with viral pneumonia, but due to a communication issue, we didn’t find that out for a couple of days. In the mean time, we worried as he condition worsened, but we also had great results with natural treatments – we used the steam from the shower quite a bit, but I did not know the special hand-clapping. We also used essential oils and a few other things. I was so thankful to make it through without antibiotics (even though it turned out to be most-likely viral, anyway). It’s all so stressful when you’re trying to decide how to respond in the moment. Thanks for your insights and encouragement in these things.

  6. MyPeaceOfFood

    When you say “I took Pau d’Arco tablets, Olive Leaf extract tablets, and lots of probiotics for him,” do you mean you were taking those because you were nursing him?

  7. Thanks for this wonderful post. It is exactly what I’m looking for. My late husband had CF and I used to administer his physio (the cup slapping on the back you talked about). I should have thought of that sooner. I’ll be trying that (and more) for sure. It’s been three weeks and I’ve done precious little about my persistent cough (which may not be pneumonia), but it is starting to get really painful and my third son woke up last night coughing, too. I’m not going to let this continue anymore!

  8. Megapolis Hack

    After I originally commented I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments
    are added- checkbox and from now on each time a comment is added I recieve 4 emails
    with the exact same comment. Perhaps there is an easy method you can remove me from that service?
    Appreciate it!

    1. Hi,

      If you scroll down to the bottom of one of those comment emails you’ll see “To manage your subscriptions…” and a link. Clicking on it will bring you to a list of all post comments you are subscribed to and you can easily remove yourself. Hope that helps!

  9. Thanks so much for your story and tips. I found encouragement with our recent adventure with pneumonia. I also have a success story and I just posted it on my blog.

  10. Honestly, I have had pnuemonia three times in one year, once with laryngitis and twice with strep. I think I would have gone for the antibiotics first! That being said, because I now have asthma the first thing I do when I get a cold is head for the pharmacy section of the store and get an expectorant. I learned when my kids were little that you can avoid a lot of problems if you get the phlegmy gucky cough going they can get rid of the stuff in their lungs. It works for me, too, and I haven’t had pnuemonia in four or five years now (that one year was a bad one, needless to say). You may have a natural remedy that works as well to bring up the stuff, but the bottled seems to work for me. I do have to stay away from anything with alcohol because of an allergy to it, but any kind seems to work. I also make sure not to get anything with an antihistamine or dimetapp like product in it as those are counterproductive. Another thing that helps, with older children mainly, hot drinks like tea or even a little coffee or chicken broth. Anything warm and steamy like the shower. When my youngest son had asthma attacks I would do the back slapping on him to break up the phelgm because the meds back then were just too much for him! Talk about a wired kid. I know your baby is still nursing, too, but when a child gets like that it’s best not to nurse, but to make sure he gets a lot of water for hydration, it helps keep the lungs moist and the body can retain fluids better.

  11. Interesting article. I am rather new to the world “beating illnesses naturally” and wondering where is a good place to begin researching? Do you have any suggestions on good books to read or websites to follow? Where did your journey begin?
    Thank you!!

    1. Abby,
      Yikes, I’m sorry I missed your comment for so long! It came in just as I was releasing an eBook and got buried as I dug out of all my normal tasks afterward.

      The answer for me really is that it was baby steps, and usually an “as needed” basis – like my son got an ear infection and I start googling, asking on Twitter or Facebook, etc. But I had an advantage because I already had this blog and my readers are much smarter than me. 😉 One place I know of that will have more than you’ll ever need is Heal Thyself –

      Hope you enjoy Pat over there! 🙂 Katie

  12. Just put the snugly, nursed all day, sleepy baby in his crib and googled cough and fever. Lucky for me I also googled holistic remedies for pneumonia! Thanks for the post full lots of good suggestions.

  13. You didn’t say how the dr determined what type pneumonia it was…but good to hear the treatments you used worked! Interestingly many of the products you used are also antifungal. I say this because mayo clinic a few years back published information stating most sinus infections are actually caused by fungus…wondering if many pneumonia cases are also

  14. What an informative article, thank you for sharing. You have definitely given me some new ideas for treating our family naturally through sickness. I’m glad to hear your son is better!

    I am a little confused that you are such a wonderful advocate for natural home medicine but that you vaccinate your children. Please please please do more research on vaccinating your precious little ones 🙂

    With love,


  15. Just out of curiosity, do you think your son had bacterial or viral pneumonia? Was there ever any question of doing a culture to tell the difference? My son had pneumonia this winter as well and we ended up treating him w. antibiotics but after a friend doc of mine asked whether anyone had even bothered to do a culture which was a no for us. I was wondering if that is standard?

    Also, if your John had been having an obvious struggle to breathe how would that have changed your opinion on how to treat him?

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      My hunch was always viral, because it started as a cold that other people in our family also had, both times. Also, if the commenter above is accurate and a fever amping up at night but waning during the day signifies viral, then that’s a small confirmation.

      All the docs said that there was no way to tell the difference…no talk of doing a culture.

      If John had been struggling to breathe for real, like during the day and everything, sure, that’s different. We took him to the ER, so we’re clearly not anti-all-western-medicine. Every situation takes discernment and prayer…

      🙂 Katie

  16. Heather @Cube2Farm

    Another stellar article on how to naturally cure something we’ve recently experienced! It’s like we are living on the same virtual wave, lady. Thank you so much!!!! BulldozerBaby has been suffering similar symptoms and also had to spend time in the ER. Praise the Lord for good doctors and speedy recoveries. Glad to know John is feeling better, too.
    Praying for you to be showered with many blessings!

  17. having treated my daughter’s multiple cases of pneumonia, naturally, I must add that changing babies arm position and only gentle cupping is necessary, hard back cupping could hurt the child. elevated sleeping is also very important, especially if your child is prone to chest infection.

    1. Totally agree. The average child does not need a hard pat, mine is one of those exceptions. It is the sound wave that actually breaks it up. Think more like a drum than anything.
      Mine gets mad if it is not hard enough, it should be to the child’s tolerance. Think of it like a massage, in rythem 😉

  18. You didn’t say how the dr determined what type pneumonia it was…but good to hear the treatments you used worked! Interestingly many of the products you used are also antifungal. I say this because mayo clinic a few years back published information stating most sinus infections are actually caused by fungus…wondering if many pneumonia cases are also…sadly most physicians still don’t know about fungus being the root cause to many illnesses…Which leads to antibiotics being prescribed for something which they are ineffective against. Thank you again for helping us to become educated and take charge of our health!

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Hmmmm…Pretty sure the doc didn’t say what kind it was, either time. Now I’m curious! I did notice, with much interest, that when I was looking up the causes and symptoms of pneumonia today just to make sure I stated it correctly, that fungus was listed. That was news to me! Also, one site listed parasites as a possible cause, which was REALLY news to me! I’m sure tons of antibiotics are used on pneumonia and other infections that might be viral or fungal – either way, the antibiotics are ineffective. So sad…
      Thank you for adding to the post! 🙂 Katie

      1. I have a holistic doctor who told me that a sickness that really kicks in with fever, etc. at night and then eases up during the day is usually viral. If it’s all day and night it’s more likely to be bacterial. He didn’t mention how to tell if it’s fungal.

  19. It was far easier for me to forgive Grandma, who thought she just had a cold) than the doctor who thought a Tylenol/Dimetapp/Benadryl cocktail was safe for a two-week-old.
    She is my middle girl and while it didn’t send me over the edge, it was truly a defining moment for me!
    You’re awesome to run this post, Katie, keep up the great work!

  20. Loving the natural health month. My 3yr old DS has Chronic Lung Disease (among many other issues, he was a micropreemie with a major heart condition). He is termed “medically fragile” but getting stronger! We haven’t been in the hospital since Oct! We have been using CPT (the back clapping thing) since he was very little. It is still the easiest way to get him to sleep, yes.. Sleep. And he likes it HARD! He has worn out Respatory Therapists who do it to CF adults! A few hints: put a towel on his back when you pat. Skin-to-skin makes it uncomfortable. My sons FAV. Position is laying on a Boppy with his knees under him. Laying him on our knees (maybe with a towel under him would work too. It also works best to work around the whole chest: front, back, wand sides. Basically try and cover the whole lungs.
    Unfortunately he has had to have many antibiotics.. Even the strongest ones. I’m going to have to try the oils, but I will have to talk to his pharmacist first. He is on so many prescriptions now and we had a Dr almost kill him once because she prescribed something that was going to react with one of his heart meds! Thankfully our awesome pharmacist caught it :). We no longer see that Dr 😉
    Thanks for the suggestions!

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Wow, those are really good tips! I’m updating the post now…and what a journey you’ve had with your little guy. I can’t even imagine, but it sounds like he’s really improving, thanks to a smart and attentive momma! 😉 Katie

  21. That’s a good question! The following link tells you more than you ever wanted to know…
    We live in a town full of chicken owners (to the extent that there’s a biking tour of 12 coops every year and they haven’t repeated coops for a few years), and I have never heard of anyone else getting this. After 7.5 years, I’ve recovered enough psychologically from it to want to have chickens again, but my husband hasn’t! That may also have something to do with the fact that he was the one to clean out the fat dead rats who chewed their way into our heavy plastic food bin…

    1. Cinnamon Vogue

      Wow good pdf Cathy. Thanks. I am not keeping chickens for sure. Another thing I use is Apple Cider Vinegar. Haven’t been sick in years because I take two teaspoons of ACV with a glass of warm water at the first sign of a cold, sore throats and especially a cough. As a severe allergy sufferer and asthmatic I was prone to chest infections. Now I am free at last.

  22. Vomiting from coughing can occur without pneumonia being present, and it can happen to adults with pneumonia or other coughs. When my son was a baby he had 2 or 3 incidences of coughing with vomiting, but only one was pneumonia. It was an odd type of pneumonia–Chlamydial pneumonia, which is passed from birds (our chicken) to people (my husband) and then from an infected person to one more set of people who can not infect others. Children have a lot easier time than adults with this one, so my son (who was 8 months at the time) was able to get over it without a doctor visit. I had 10 days of fever (including low-grade fever after several days of antibiotics) and my husband was coughing for a good two months.

    This was, by the way, only a year and a half after we started eating meat after being vegetarian for 10 years. I have to wonder if things would have been different if we’d known about bone broth, cod liver oil, and fermented vegetables then!

    1. How do you prevent getting pneumonia from chickens? How common is it? I will have to put that on the con list for getting chickens this spring.

  23. A bazillion years ago before my foray into all things health, I had a baby. She was beautiful, easygoing and slept well. Then grandma came. Grandma was sick but insisted on kissing and holding baby. Baby, of course, got sick. This was in 1995, back before most doctors knew what RSV was. Sure enough, the pediatrician sent us home with five (FIVE!) over-the-counter meds to give her round the clock to stop the fever, stop the cough, stop the mucous, etc. etc. etc. Baby was only two weeks old.

    Guess you know that she ended up with a life-threatening pneumonia. As they were admitting her in the hospital, they told me to call my husband and start making “arrangements,” she was not expected to live through the night. It took a full week of hospitalization, IVs placed in her scalp, respiratory therapy, and fervent prayer, but she did survive.

    Nowadays, I would treat pneumonia at home, but I would never, ever treat it at home in a very young baby, and I certainly wouldn’t use over-the-counter drugs to do it.

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Oh, Peggy…
      You have quite a story. I hope she wasn’t your first…? The phrase “make arrangements” would send me over the edge if I had just had a newborn. I just can’t even imagine…did you ever forgive the Grandma? Did she forgive herself? Gahhhhhh….

      You should be the one to write this post over at Local Nourishment, I am sure…

      {hugs} Katie

  24. Cinnamon Vogue

    Cinnamon Oil has been proven very effective against Streptococcus, the Pneumonia causing bacteria and anti-biotic resistant bacteria, especially in hospitals.

    So how to use Cinnamon Oil?. The best way is prevention, especially during winter. Mix 1% Cinnamon Oil with water and wipe down everything on a regular basis. That means kitchen counter tops, toilets, the garbage can, inside your refrigerator (a prime breeding ground for rotten food unless you keep it real clean), door knobs, the TV remote and virtually anything where there are germ manifestations.
    Its child safe and pet friendly provided you dilute it to 1-2%. People tend to overdo things, but good Cinnamon Oil should be used sparingly. You can also add just a drop of Cinnamon Oil to a diffuser filled with water and let the aroma waft through the house or just a drop into steam water bucket and inhale it.

    For an extra good measure have some Cinnamon Tea. Cinnamon is a natural anti-bacterial, germicidal, antiseptic, anti fungal, antidiarrheal, antimicrobial and digestive. Add some cloves, ginger, sugar and give it to the kids especially in the winter.

    If you want a stronger remedy for air con/heating ducts, you can put a tablespoon of pure Cinnamon Oil on a diffuser and let it burn and run the air conditioner or heating system so it gets into all the ventilation shafts. Be warned, don’t stay inside when you do this, because Cinnamon Oil is very powerful and at that concentration it will give you a headache and cause breathing difficulties. Here is a reference to the research at NCBI –

    1. I know you made this comment a long time ago, but I’m hoping you’ll see my question. If not, maybe someone else can guide me.
      I am currently struggling to get over a bout of pneumonia that I’ve had for almost 6 months.
      I recently got into using essential oils, and bought a diffuser yesterday.
      I would like to use it with some cinnamon oil, but I’m not sure if putting water in it with the oil would do much. Won’t the oil just sit on top of the water instead of being diluted? My diffuser has an air pump that connects into an empty jar and has a glass bulb that sits on top.

      1. Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

        My diffuser sounds like a different setup than yours, but you’ll know within minutes if it’s diffusing because you’ll smell the cinnamon. The oil might sit on top, but it still gets into the air, trust me. I’ve even put a few drops in a cup of water and simmered it gently on the stove, making the whole house smell like the oil and “treating” everyone. Sounds like you’ve had a long illness; here’s hoping for your sake that you’re in the home stretch!!
        🙂 Katie

  25. Stacy Makes Cents

    So, I just wanted to let you know that it’s perfectly okay if you lost it. You’re his mama – and mamas can lose it. I think that’s in the Bible somewhere. 😉 I would have went bananas with worry on that car drive. I’m glad your little one is feeling better. He has a very good mama. 🙂

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      You’re the best! I was just wondering if he was going to die from some odd ailment, that’s all. Or worse yet, die because of some weird natural remedy we’d used on him that week! Bah! I did a lot of talking to God about it…and who knows, maybe he was going to die and God had mercy and listened to my prayers. I should tell my husband that. He wasn’t driving fast enough for my liking anyway… 😉 Katie

      1. Stacy Makes Cents

        Well – when something is wrong with your child you don’t behave normally. 🙂 I’m not a big freaker-outer, but if something is wrong with my kids, I go nutso. Perfectly understandable.

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      It wasn’t even that crazy – 24-48 hours, that’s all. It was just the pain – the chest scan showed a lot of air in the bowel and a bunch of poop bunched up at the end. When he did have a BM the next day, it was totally normal and not painful or hard or anything. So maybe it’s less “constipation” and more “painful gas?”

      1. good to know! my gal has a yucky phlegmy cough that was around for a couple days and now it’s back! i read your piece today and of course listened to her chest immediately! haha didnt hear any wheezing and i said you pooped yesterday right?!!! your belly hurt? “nope” but now in the back of my head… hmmm so glad your sweet babe is well, he is so yummy adorable!!!

        1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

          He’s even cuter when he’s grinning…or dragging a chair over to terrorize my kitchen counters and drawers… 😉 Katie

  26. Is Coughing so hard you throw up a symptom of pneumonia in adults, too? A dry cough has been keeping me awake at night this week and no amount of raw honey would stop it, so I had to take my inhaler. I was hoping to make it through the winter without antibiotics! Going to the chiropractor for the last six months has really helped my usually sickly immune system.

    1. Darlene in North GA

      Years ago, I had “walking pneumonia” from Aug to Feb. I was put on several antibiotics over that period of time, but nothing was getting rid of the cough and congestion. My Dr. finally told me that if I wasn’t better in 3 days, he was putting me in the hospital. My 3 kids would have had to go to their dad’s and I doubt he’d have given them back without a court fight and I didn’t have the money to do that. All along, my Dr. tried to get me to make myself a cough syrup of 2 TBS lemon juice, 2 TBS alcohol and 1 TBS honey. Mix it together and take 1-2 TBS at a time – can take every hour. (I do NOT drive while taking this!) I’m LDS, so I don’t use alcohol. But this was my last chance. So…I got someone to give me some hooch and I made the concoction. I was better in 24 – 36 hrs!

      A couple of years later, I learned that I had asthma, but it wasn’t the “wheezy” type. It’s called “Cough specific” asthma. Symptoms? A hacking cough! Sometimes, it productive, other times, not. That’s it, that’s ALL the symptoms. An inhaler or a nebulizer will sometimes get rid of the cough. But I’ve found that the concoction the Dr. had me make will get rid of it 100% of the time. Every time I get a cold/resp. infection I’ve piddled around with taking the hooch mixture and every time I keep coughing until I take it for a day or so. This last time, as soon as I realized I was getting sick, I hit it with the hooch mix. Guess what? I was only sick for 2 days, not FOUR WEEKS! YMMV, but to me, it’s worth a try.

      As for me, the inhaler/nebulizer meds make me feel sicker all the while quieting the cough. Not a good trade-off in my mind.

      1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

        What an amazing story!! Thank you so much for sharing it here, and may I just say I love your doc for prescribing a home remedy for the cough/pneumonia! Wow!
        🙂 Katie

      2. Darlene,

        My grandmother who did not drink kept a container of whiskey at her house and made cough medicine out of it.

        This is the recipe: equal parts honey, whiskey and lemon juice. the whiskey to quiet the cough, the lemon juice to cut the mucus and the honey to coat the throat. (I use raw honey for the immune properties.)

        My dh had me make some this winter when he wanted Nyquil but not the HFCS. It only took one does to turn the corner.

      3. You could TRY using raw apple cider vinegar in place of the alcohol. It’s similar in some ways, and would preserve the mixture just as well. …just an idea. 🙂

  27. I treated my son’s pneumonia with essential oils. Since our water didn’t get hot enough to steam, I boiled water and put three drops each of cinnamon, thyme and clove in it. We sat in the rocker – cause he didn’t want to do the steam tent – with the pot at my feet and a large blanket over all of it and us. We repeated this often. Worked like a charm to encourage coughing up the gunk and he was better in two days.

    Fast forward many years to four weeks ago when I had pneumonia. I am immune compromised, but still chose to treat it myself. Cinnamon, thyme and clove oils, fresh garlic, manuka honey and organic cinnamon, along with bone broth and organic coconut oil.

    Thyme is probably the best essential oil for this as it has a long long history of use in respiratory infections.

    So it works as well on 50 year-olds as in children. I was never brave enough to broadcast ignoring doctor advice. I just smiled, accepted the script, and threw it away when we got home.

    All four of our boys got whooping cough too and we used the same treatment. That heals at it’s own pace, but the steam and oils surely did offer comfort and relief.

    Great article. Glad to see young moms taking the reins of their children’s care. Good for you!

    Now, do some more research on vaccinations!

  28. Sherra Kinder

    “Liposomal Vitamin C (I’m not even sure what that means…)”

    Lipospheric vitamin C is made by LiveOnLabs. They isolate vitamin c individually into spheres so it is not broken down by the stomach and readily absorbed by the blood stream. I first learned of its amazing properties through Nutrition World and read further on LiveOns website. I use it among other things, when I am feeling under the weather.
    According to some studies, Intravenous vitamin C has been shown effective in treating some cancers. LiveOn has tried to replicate some of those beneficial properties to get it into your system through the Lyposheric vitamin C. Here are some links where I learned of its beneficial properties:
    At the bottom of the above link is a video of its effectiveness in cancer patient.
    Hope all that info is helpful!
    Thank you for all you have provided!
    Sincerely, Sherra

  29. I;m so so sorry to read this… May you and everyone you love know only health and happiness… you’s so wonderful for teaching the rest of us what to do. I hope further teachings of yours won;t be due to illnesses…

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      It hardly seems like a big deal now that we’re through it! 😉 Katie

  30. Great post! I am also a ‘natural health nut’ mommy (we have some unfilled scrips too), and it’s sooo hard to remember the efficacy of those natural remedies when they have those big-scary sicknesses, and not just blindly follow what the doctor says to do (only to end up double-whammied with problematic drug-effect results). So it’s always extra nice to find encouragement and ‘community’ with others who do the same.

  31. I’m sorry your son had pneumonia! My son had it over Christmas and it was scary. I know the steam shower method- my doctor recommends that for croup, something my son gets often. I will have to keep you natural remedies for pneumonia on hand, my son has asthma and frequently has trouble when he gets sick.


    1. 1 teaspoon of raw honey with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon crushed/ powder twice a day, is a panacea of both mild and acute respiratory tract infections including chronic asthma. This is an ayurvedic prescription quite handy from the kitchen shelf and has no side effects.

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