What Parents Need to Know About Children Suffering from Croup
Nothing is more frightening than seeing your young child struggling to breathe. Particularly for first-time parents, the symptoms associated with croup can seem alarming. Croup is an inflammation of the larynx and trachea that often develops in infants and young children infected with influenza or respiratory viruses. The condition leads to a a barking cough or hoarseness occurring particularly when a child cries.
Although coughing associated with the condition sounds severe, treating croup is relatively easy. Most croup symptoms are mild and can be treated at home without expensive medications. One of the simplest natural croup remedies involves going outside to breathe cold air. Just dress warmly and sit out for as long as possible. Another way breathe cold air is to drive around with the windows open. In warmer climates, stand in front of the freezer for as long as possible.
Treating Croup With Steam
Possibly the most commonly used remedy for treating croup is steam. Experienced parents often take babies or toddlers with croup into a bathroom, close the door and fully turn on the shower with the hottest possible water and let steam fill the room. Often a good shot of humidity is all that is needed to start reversing croup. Sit with the child on your lap for reassurance and let the shower run for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the hot water runs out. When breathing improves, take your child back to his or her bedroom and run a cold vapor humidifier to continue supply water to the air to ease breathing. To make these croup remedies more effective, you can make a tent with sheets to place over the child’s bed to concentrate the humidity.
Other home remedies treating croup include placing warm compresses on the chest. If possible, include essential oils such as eucalyptus or peppermint, which are important for opening airways. Mix with a carrier oil and apply to the compress. Note that peppermint oil should not be used with children younger than two. Essential oils of cinnamon, thyme and clove may also be used in a steam tent, while elderberry syrup is good for general immunity and upper respiratory support.