Dealing With the Startle Reflex in Infants

Powder for startle reflex from Chinese medicine.

The startle reflex or startle reaction “is a response to sudden, startling stimuli, such as sudden noise or sharp movement. Usually the onset of the startle response is reflectory. The startle reflex is a brainstem reflectory reaction that serves to protect the back of the neck (whole-body startle), or the eye (eyeblink), and also facilitates escape from sudden stimuli. It is found across the lifespan and in many species. An individual’s emotional state may lead to a variety of different responses,” according to Wikipedia.

Both my kids have experienced this. With Dindin, she would get startled when there was a really loud noise nearby, like from Sabian cymbals at musicians friend–even when she was still in my tummy! As for Shane, she would often get startled, too. Our pediatrician says that it is normal and it would just go away. In the internet, I read that it would go away on the 4th or 6th month.

We just noticed, however, that her startled responses are like many times in a day and she would shake and cry all the time. In Tagalog, the term would be “nerbyosa”. I really thought it was because I still drank coffee while I was pregnant (as guided by my OB-Gynecologist).

But then, my parents-in-law said that there is such a medicine for startle reflex in Traditional Chinese Medicine. They bought a bottle for Shane to try and I was advised to give it or rub it on her gums much like the teething powder twice a day (Read the story about the Teething Powder.) Surprisingly, her conditioned improved after 2 days. While she still gets startled, it is not so common now. It is not everyday anymore.

Shane after application of the powder. Notice that the staining is lighter than the teething powder.

The powder is also good for fever, colds, and cough with a lot of phlegm. Last week, Shane had a lot of phlegm and was coughing. I thought it was allergic cough but it turned out that she was actually teething (5 months). It was nighttime and our pediatrician obviously didn’t have clinic. The only medicine that I have that would be alright for infants is the startle reflex powder. When I applied the powder on her mouth, the coughing stopped on the first dose. I continued using it twice a day for two days and the phlegm just went away–though she is still teething until now. But if it is viral cough and it would comfort you, just please bring your child to your pediatrician for consultation and prescription medicines.

This product is pretty good and cheap, too. Just please ask those at the Chinese drug store what medicine it is because it’s Chinese name is very long. But the packaging and the bottle looks like the one in the picture. I think it costs P65.


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