spasmodic narrowing and inflammation of the upper respiratory tract.
What to look for
Croup is a viral infection of
the voice box. It shows similar symptoms to those of a respiratory infection and is a
relatively common ailment of childhood.
Usually the first indication
is a cough that sounds like the bark of a seal. Your child may also have trouble breathing
and may a strange sound may be produced when your child inhales.
Croup lasts for five or six
days and is highly contagious. It usually affects children between three months and six
years old (the average age is two), whose small windpipes and bronchial passages are
vulnerable to blockage. It is not usually dangerous and can be remedied at home. In severe
cases your child may need to be hospitalised.
Most croup cases are caused
by a virus. The disease is transmitted by coughing.
It is a must that both you
and your child stay calm as being anxious will make breathing more difficult. The simplest
remedy is moist air. Switch off all heating appliances and air conditioners and put the
child in a humid environment.
Because the condition
commonly worsens at night, many doctors recommend that you sleep in the same room with
your child to be able to monitor the condition. Be ready to get medical help if your child
Doctors have recommended home
care this condition unless the child is having great difficulty breathing.
Herbal Therapies -
To alleviate a persistent cough, herbalists use aniseed
(Pimpinella anisum), sundew (Drosera rotundifolia), thyme
(Thymus vulgaris), or wild cherry (Prunus serotina) bark.
Aconite is favoured by Homoeopaths for croup.
If Aconite doesn't work try Spongia in the same dosage and intervals. For a more
mucus-filled bronchial cough, Hepar sulphuris is the third choice for acute croup.
Give the child a bath and add a few drops of eucalyptus,
wintergreen or menthol.
A cool-mist humidifier may
help your child breathe.
Steam may help loosen
phlegm and relax the throat. Turn on the shower and let steam accumulate in your bathroom.
Carry your child around in the room (but not under the shower) until the child's breathing
Give your child plenty of
liquids (not citrus).
Keep your child away from
When to seek further