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)
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.
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
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.
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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.