How to combat post-viral wheeze in children

Does your little one suffer from a troublesome wheeze every time they catch a virus? It can be scary and distressing for parents when your child cannot breathe properly, particularly when wheezing episodes can lead to a dash to hospital and the need for medications such as steroids and nebulisers. However, here are some great remedies that can help boost your child’s immune system and prevent post-viral wheeze symptoms from escalating.

Many parents have shared their success stories with us using these natural approaches, noting significant improvements in their children’s health and a reduction in hospital visits. Here is a lovely message I recently received from a parent:

After using the daily vitamins, zinc, vitamin D and the probiotic, we have found a dramatic positive change in our little boy (2yrs), he has been able to combat coughs and colds all by himself with no medical attention required. He’s now a month into the recommended products and we are so happy with his health and his strength. He has had two mild colds since, and he’s been a real trooper. Before taking the supplements, with every cold he was admitted into A&E for oxygen, nebulisers and steroids. Thank you so much for your knowledge and giving me advice when I was so desperate and worried.

Name removed for privacy

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What is post -viral wheeze?

Post-viral wheeze is a respiratory condition in which the airways become inflamed and sensitive, typically occurring towards the end of a viral infection such as a cold or flu. This condition is especially common in children but can affect all ages. The severity can vary; some children may experience mild symptoms, while others might really struggle to breathe. If you or your child experiences severe or worsening symptoms, it is important to seek medical advice immediately.

What are the symptoms of post-viral wheeze?

  • Wheezing – a whistling sound whilst breathing caused by the narrowing of airways in the lungs.
  • Coughing – persistent coughing which may worsen at night or in the early morning.
  • Rapid breathing – breathing may become faster than normal as the body attempts to take in more air.
  • Shortness of breath – feeling short of breath, especially during physical activity or when lying down.
  • Increased mucus production – an increase in phlegm can further obstruct airways.

How does post-viral wheeze feel?

  • Breathing difficulties – your child may feel like they cannot draw a full breath. This can be more noticeable when exhaling.
  • Chest tightness – they might have a feeling of constriction or pressure in the chest, making it uncomfortable to breathe deeply.
  • Fatigue – difficulty with breathing can lead to increased tiredness, as the body works harder to get enough oxygen.
  • Disturbed sleep – wheezing and breathing difficulties can disrupt sleep, leading to further tiredness for everyone!

Practical home remedies and supplements to help with post-viral wheeze

  • Hydration – keep your child well hydrated. Chilled drinks and ice lollies can soothe their throat and help with the cough.
  • Emotional support – provide plenty of cuddles, stories and calm activities. Reducing stress is key as it can exacerbate wheezy symptoms.
  • Honey – look for active honeys, such as Jarrah honey which is known for its antimicrobial properties and has a delicious toffee taste – ideal for young children (over 12 months) as it is less strong tasting than Manuka.
  • Elderberry – this antiviral herb is ideal for supporting viral-induced wheeze, cough, or croup. Ideally give it to your child at the first sign of a virus coming on. Supplements are available for children as young as three months.
  • Magnesium – its muscle-relaxing properties can ease bronchial muscle constriction and its anti-inflammatory effects may reduce airway inflammation. Magnesium can also help reduce stress and improve your child’s sleep. A cup or two of Epsom salts in a warm bath can also help ease distress.

Long-term support for recurrent post-viral wheeze

For children prone to post-viral wheeze, these supplements can really boost overall immunity, particularly during the challenging winter months to help to prevent the viruses hitting quite so hard.

  • Vitamin D – research has found that many children and babies who wheeze regularly are low in vitamin D. It is now recommended as a daily supplement in the UK from October to March due to lack of sun in the autumn and winter months and is a key nutrient for supporting immunity year-round. Vitamin D rich foods include egg yolks, outdoor reared meat, mushrooms, oily fish and some cod liver oil.
  • Zinc – this mighty mineral can help boost immunity and may help prevent a virus hitting your child quite so hard. Zinc-rich foods include meat, fish, dairy, nuts and seeds.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids – found in oily fish, walnuts, flax, chia, or supplements, omega-3 can reduce common viral respiratory symptoms and infections by lowering inflammation and enhancing immunity.
  • Quercetin – if your child experiences allergies, eczema, or hay fever and is also prone to post-viral wheeze, consider quercetin. It strengthens the lungs and combats both acute and chronic lung inflammation. Quercetin is naturally found in red onions, red peppers, and apples, and is also available as a supplement.
  • Probiotics – there is emerging evidence that an imbalance of bacteria in the gut can be reflected in the lungs known as the gut-lung axis. To help support the gut and lung microbiome give your child live yoghurt and kefir, pickled cucumbers, miso and apple cider vinegar, or even a live bacteria supplement to boost the diversity of the gut microbiome. This is especially important for at least six weeks daily following a course of antibiotics.


Post-viral wheeze can be frightening for your child and very worrying for parents too, particularly if it results in hospital admissions and the need for medications such as steroids and nebulisers. Taking a more proactive approach using my nutritional tips and recommended supplements could really help manage and prevent post-viral wheeze in your child.

At NatureDoc, our team of qualified nutritional therapists is ready to offer personalised support for your child’s immune and respiratory health. If you are seeking a holistic approach to boost your child’s immune system, please get in touch here and we would be happy to help.

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