A castor oil chest compress saved my 8 month old baby a trip to the emergency room. It worked so swiftly that I was in awe. I formerly worked 2 years on pediatrics as a nurse and have never seen a child respond so swiftly to an albuterol breathing treatment as she did to that castor oil pack. She began to cough up mucus so thick that she was literally gagging on it. Once it was all coughed up she curled up and went to sleep and her breathing was so soft and easy you would never guess that she had just spent the better part of the night wheezing and having difficulty breathing. I am just guessing, but there must be some major anti inflammatory component in the castor oil that is absorbed right through the skin. To make the compress I poured a generous puddle of castor oil on some folded paper towels and applied them to her chest. I covered them with a piece of plastic cut from a zip lock bag and then wrapped it all in place with an elastic bandage secured with a safety pin. I put her pajamas back on and of course stayed with her to make sure that she didn't tear the bandage off and get it around her neck, or choke on the plastic or something. The croup lasted for about 3 days and I did the castor packs as needed and they really worked for us. A word of warning though. Children can compensate so well for an illness that you may not realize how far out of hand things are until suddenly the child can not compensate any longer and is truly in deep trouble. So any child with moderate to extreme, or extended difficulty breathing should be taken to the hospital. If you are nervous, follow your gut and go in, or at least call your doctor.
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