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Everything you need to know about Croup

What is Croup?

Croup refers to an upper respiratory infection that causes inflammation in the upper airway, resulting in obstruction of the airway and a characteristic barking cough or "seal cough."

The cough and other signs and symptoms of croup are the result of swelling around the voice box (larynx), windpipe (trachea) and bronchial tubes (bronchi). When a cough forces air through this narrowed passageway, the swollen vocal cords produce a noise similar to a seal barking. Likewise, taking a breath often produces a high-pitched whistling sound (stridor).

Croup usually begins as a typical cold. If there is enough coughing and inflammation a child can develop Croup.

Croup usually isn’t serious and most children can be treated at home.

Croup is more common in children ages 6 months to 6 years of age.

Symptoms of Croup:

  • loud, barking cough, aggravated by crying, coughing, and anxiety.

  • can be with or without fever

  • hoarse, raspy voice

  • labored and/or loud breathing

  • symptoms usually worsen at night and last 3-5 days

When to seek medical attention:

If your child's symptoms are severe, worsen or last longer than three to five days or aren't responding to home treatment, contact a trusted healthcare professional.

Seek immediate medical attention if your child:

  • Makes noisy, high-pitched breathing sounds both when inhaling and exhaling

  • Makes high-pitched breathing sounds when not crying or agitated

  • Begins drooling or has difficulty swallowing

  • Seems anxious and agitated or fatigued and listless

  • Breathes at a faster rate than usual

  • Struggles to breathe

  • Develops blue or grayish skin around the nose, mouth or fingernails (cyanosis)

Home Management:

  • Steam - turn on the shower as hot as it will go and close the door to the bathroom to let it steam up. Sit with your child for 30 minutes or until breathing is easy.

  • Cold - in the winter months you can bundle up your child and sit outside. Breathing in the cold air can decrease inflammation in the airway making it easier to breathe.

  • Breathe essential oil - apply diluted directly to chest and put a 5-6 drops in the diffuser in the same room they are sleeping. Thyme, eucalyptus, marjoram, and lemon essential oils are great alternatives in the diffuser as well in any combination. *Please note I can only endorse using doTERRA essential oils.*

  • Hydration - croup is due to a viral infection and while it's always important to stay hydrated, it is especially imporant when you are sick. Water is part of every cell in your body and is essential to everyday health. That’s why making sure you stay well hydrated is crucial when your body is trying to fight a virus.

  • Supplements - immune supporting supplements such as Elderberry (code ERINW15), Vitamin C, and mushrooms are great supplements I like to give any time a child is fighting a viral infection. Some of my favorite supplements are from MaryRuth's (discount code ESSENTIALLYERIN).

  • Honey -has amazing anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Add 1 tsp of honey to a cup of warm water and drink it or take it direct. *Please note honey should not be given to infants under the age of 1 due to risk of botulism.*

  • Rest + sleep

  • Detox bath - I like to use redmond clay + epsom salt along with essential oils like lavender and frankincense.

  • Sleep upright - there have been many nights I've slept with my baby in a chair while they've had croup. Sleeping upright can minimize coughing which can reduce inflammation and make it easier to breathe.

  • Humidity - there’s evidence that suggests virus’ have a harder time thriving in more humid environments. Try running a humidifier (warm if possible) at night in your child’s room.

**If you're interested in getting pure, therapeutic grade essential oils at 25% off, join my oil community with an enrollment kit (my favorite one linked here), get a free membership and the best essential oils at wholesale pricing, with tons of resources, community, exclusive classes, text service for support and me as your guide. Learn more here.


Remember, STAY CALM! I know how scary it can be when you feel like your child isnt breathing well, but you want your child to remain as calm as possible, as crying and agitation can worsen symptoms. If you aren't remaining calm it will be harder for your child to.

Make sure you have a healthcare provider you can trust. There are many doctors out there with different beliefs and experiences and practices. I like to look for naturopaths or functional MD’s, as a starting point. Don’t forget, YOU hire them.

ALWAYS use your intuition.


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