Croup Cough in Child

by Shaun Damon


Croup is a common condition in children that occurs due to swelling of the larynx and wind pipe. This makes the child breathless and results in a “barking” cough, especially when the child cries. This condition is mainly caused by a virus; other causes include bacteria and allergies. Croup mostly peaks in the winter season and early spring, and it is most common in children between the ages of six months and three years.

Parainfluenza virus is the prime cause for croup. However, it can occur due to other causes like RSV, measles, adenovirus, influenza, etc. In olden days, especially before the advent of antibiotics and immunizations, croup was a dreaded disease. However, thanks to the advancement of technology, today, most cases of croup are mild and not serious, and home remedies for croup cough in children help to get relief. Nevertheless, severe cases can require hospitalization.

Runny or stuffy nose and fever are symptoms that a child may have at first. As a result of the inflammation and swelling of the upper airway, the child may feel breathless and a harsh, hoarse barking cough will manifest. Other signs of croup cough include the following:

  • Noisy breathing
  • Fever
  • Hoarse voice
  • Squeaking noise during inhalation (stridor)
  • Retracted breath
  • In severe cases, appearance of pale or bluish color around the mouth occurs due to lack of oxygen.
  • Croup symptoms worsen at night

Mostly, the symptoms subside within 3 to 7 days, and mild cases of croup cough can be treated with natural remedies. Given below are some of the home remedies for croup cough in children. A peaceful environment is necessary. Care is also very important, and parents should speak in a soothing voice to calm the child as emotional upsets can worsen the condition.

  • Ensure your child gets plenty of rest.
  • Children should get plenty of fluids such as warm water, ginger ale, and apple juice to loosen the phlegm. Fluids also help to avoid dehydration.
  • In a child with fever, chest discomfort can be addressed with over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen. However, do consult a doctor as well.
  • One of the effective home remedies for croup cough in children is using essential oils. Mix essential oils like sandalwood, eucalyptus, frankincense, and myrtle. Instill this mixture in a steam vaporizer that is kept in the child’s room. You can also add the essential oil mixture to the child’s bath water.
  • Steam inhalation also helps. Make the child inhale steam for 20 minutes by running a hot shower in the bathroom. This is one of the natural remedies that can clear the congestion and ease breathing. This helps to treat runny nose as well.
  • Ginger tea or mint tea can bring relief to most cold and cough related ailments. Do not use milk as it thickens mucus.
  • Consuming one tablespoon of honey daily helps to treat most kinds of coughs.
  • The swelling of the airways can be reduced by moist or cold air. Use a humidifier in the child’s room.
  • Cough medicines do not provide any relief as they have no effect on the swelling of the larynx.

If home remedies for croup cough in children do not provide any relief, the podiatrist may prescribe oral steroids to reduce swelling.

Since a child can catch the virus more than once, repeated croup cough may occur. Hence, prevention is the best cure. Keep away your child from other children with a croup cough. Ensure that your child washes his/her hands often to keep illnesses at bay.

References:

  1. http://www.umm.edu/ency/article/000959.htm
  2. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000959.htm

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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