What Is Croup Cough And How To Treat It?


Published:

The best way to explain what is croup cough is a viral infection that sounds like cough, but much worse. In terms of sound, a croup cough is a cough that sounds like the barking of a dog. The infection is more common during the fall and winter months, and seems like a harmless mild cold, and then gets more serious and severe as time passes by.

The problem is young patients, or toddlers and babies cannot talk and say what they are experiencing. This makes the croup more challenging to treat. And during the first few days of the illness, croup is contagious.

In terms of numbers, croup affects 3% of children per year and accounts for 5% of emergency admissions to hospital in children under 6 years old in America. The infection affects children between 6 months and 3 years of age, and most of the infections are caused by the human parainfluenza virus.

What Is A Croup Cough?

The common respiratory illness occurs in children and causes a change in breathing. Croup is accompanied by a hoarse voice and barking croup cough. The infection affects the vocal cords (larynx), the bronchial tubes (bronchi), and/or windpipe (trachea).

The illness can be either spasmodic or infectious. If it is infectious, then the respiratory illness is caused by a virus, germ, or bacterium. A spasmodic illness is triggered by an infection, not caused by an infection. Children are contagious for the first three days, and the symptoms are worse at night.

Symptoms Of Croup

The symptoms start same as the common cold, including a runny nose, nasal congestion, and fatigue. But as the disease worsens, the symptoms worsen as well. Here are some of the common symptoms:

  • Laryngitis
  • Stuffy and runny nose
  • Slight cough
  • Fever
  • Cough that turns into a bark of a dog
  • Stridor

In some cases, the symptoms might worsen to a severe level, which includes breathing faster than normal, flaring nostrils, abnormal sucking in of the chest and abdominal muscles, difficulty breathing, unusual restlessness or agitation, and a bluish color of the skin. No matter if it is infectious or spasmodic illness, a child will experience harder time breathing than usual.

Risk Factors And Causes

As mentioned previously, children aged between 6 months and 3 years are at higher risk of developing croup cough. The peak happens when the child is 24 months of age. Children who have asthma, or have been born prematurely are more likely to develop severe symptoms.

The main cause for the croup cough is the human parainfluenza virus (HPIV). The HPIV-1 is more common among children, but the HPIV-2 cause group can cause croup. You have to be careful about touching infected items and surfaces. The viral form is spread by airborne droplets launched by a cough or a sneeze by an infected person.

How To Treat It?

One thing to note at the beginning. Antibiotics will not help with croup. The reason is simple, antibiotics kill bacteria, and not viruses. And as we said previously, croup is caused by a virus, meaning antibiotics are useless against it. There are over-the-counter medications for cough and cold that will help. In some cases, a pediatrician may prescribe steroids like dexamethasone, prednisone, or any other that will reduce airway swelling. If the cough is too severe, physicians might even put the child on a breathing treatment.

The good news is that in most cases, croup cough is a mild illness that can be managed with home treatments. And with this, you are certain that no harmful compounds will enter your child’s system. More than 95% of croup cases can be treated with home remedies. Here are some of the popular remedies you can use. And they all come without the harmful side effects of over-the-counter medicine.

Steam

This is a remedy that works for both children and adults. Breathing in moist air helps with upper respiratory diseases, no matter what is the cause. If you want a quick result, go into the bathroom, turn the shower on highest heat setting, and shut the door. Sit or stand outside of the shower with the bathroom door closed. Breathe in the warm steam for about 10 minutes, and you will notice immediate relief.

Another way to use steam is to add a cool mist humidifier in the bedroom. The continuous steam of warm mist during the night will reduce coughing. And as we mentioned earlier, the symptoms tend to worsen during the night. A humidifier will make breathing easier.

Hydration

We all know that drinking fluids helps with the common cold. It is a recommended treatment that will not produce immediate results, but it will produce results nevertheless. Keep a croup patient well-hydrated, with water being the number one option. If breastmilk is an option, give it to the babies. You can also use soups, broths, and coconut water for hydration.

We lose fluids during fever. And we need to replace those fluids so that our body can easily fight off the infection. Warm fluids are also good, especially herbal teas and soup. In addition to hydration, they provide nourishing compounds for our body.

Cold air

I know it sounds strange. Yes, it might sound counter-productive as well. However, for a quick and effective relief, make sure your child breathes in some cold air. The easiest way to do that is to go the kitchen, open the refrigerator door, and put your child’s face in front of the open freezer.

If the weather is cold outside, that would be another option. A 10 or 20 minute walk can help. You can also drive the car with the windows open.

Rest, rest, and more rest

Rest is essential for healing any disease and illness. What is important that you do let your child rest in a flat position. Make sure to put some pillows in the bed, and help your baby breathe easier. The trick is to raise the head, so that you allow natural mucus drainage. For babies, you can put some books under the crib mattress so that you create an incline.

Essential oils

When it comes to natural treatments, essential oils are always on the top of the list. You can treat almost any disease and illness with essential oils, croup included. Naturopathic pediatricians will recommend the suitable essential oil for your baby. Rub his/hers chest with essential oils diluted in carrier oil, and you will notice results. A homemade vapor rub is something you want to have at arm’s reach at anytime.

Create a calm atmosphere

Sometimes, the most important aspect of the natural treatment is to create an atmosphere that is calming for your child. Your baby needs comfort, and that won’t happen if you are not calm. The more you panic, the more your baby will suffer. Stress makes breathing worse, and increases the difficulty. So, keep your child safe and distracted with books and games so that he/she heals faster.

Emily Turk is a health blogger covering natural health and remedies.

See also:
The Difference Between A Cold And Flu - Try Nature's Flu Shot
12 Excellent Healing Foods For Sore Throats

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

December 11, 2017

The Moon is in Libra, where she highlights the need and benefits of good working relationships. It’s an appropriate day to go over the ground rules of cooperative partnerships. Address inconsistencies or dynamics that seem unfair but remember…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

December 2017

Free admission, 10%-20% discounts! Quality crystals, minerals and jewelry! We have an amazing display of merchandise for your viewing pleasure and purchase. We constantly add new items to our...

Where:
Cape Cod Center for Whole Health
116 State Road
Sagamore Beach, MA
View map »


Sponsor: Down to Earth Crystals and Minerals
Telephone: 508-680-6195
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Daoist Benevolent Association offers free classes on traditional Wudang style tai chi. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Brown School
42 Milk St Newburyport
Newburyport, MA  01950
View map »


Sponsor: Daoist Benevolent Association
Telephone: 978-462-4617
Contact Name: Barbara
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join Diane Lewis, psychic medium, for this very special holiday presentation. Be a part of this exciting evening as Diane connects to spirit, bridging the gap and gently bringing forth messages...

Cost: $40 per person

Where:
Hillcrest Country Club
325 Pleasant Street
Leicester, MA
View map »


Sponsor: Hillcrest Country Club
Telephone: 617-645-6415
Contact Name: Diane Lewis
Website »

More information

The Daoist Benevolent Association offers free classes on traditional Wudang style tai chi. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Brown School
42 Milk St Newburyport
Newburyport, MA  01950
View map »


Sponsor: Daoist Benevolent Association
Telephone: 978-462-4617
Contact Name: Barbara
Website »

More information

Daoist Priest Zhou Xuanyun teaches traditional Wudang style kung fu.

Cost: $110/month

Where:
Boston Ultimate Fitness
72 Beach Street (4th Floor)
Boston, MA  02111
View map »


Sponsor: Daoist Gate Wudang Arts
Telephone: 508-245-8305
Contact Name: Zhou Xuanyun
Website »

More information

Beginning, Tuesday, November 7th, 2017 Clarity. Knowledge. Personal transformation. No matter what you’re looking to find more of, Kabbalah 1 is the first step in your lifelong journey of...

Cost: 8 Weeks, $49.95

Where:
WeWork
31 St. James Ave
Boston, MA  02116
View map »


Sponsor: Kabbalah Center
Telephone: 1.800.522.2252
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Do you find it a challenge to quiet your mind? In Raja Yoga the mind is described as the generator of thought that resides within the soul. It is the one thing we can control in life. We simply...

Cost: Free

Where:
Inner Space Meditation Center & Gallery
1110 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA  02138
View map »


Telephone: 617-547-1110
Website »

More information

Don’t let the hustle and bustle of the holiday season drain you! Come join us for a holiday healing meditation and Reiki session with Judy and Geri. This session will start off with...

Cost: $25

Where:
Holistic Wellness Center
18 North Meadows Road, Unit 12B
Medfield, MA   02052
View map »


Telephone: 508-359-7400
Website »

More information

Please join us at our monthly meetings, second Wednesday each month in Northboro, MA. Stay inspired and create collaborative professional relationships. A welcoming community working for the...

Where:
First Parish Unitarian Church Hall
40 Church Street
Northborough, MA  01532
View map »

More information

Weekly yoga classes with Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN of Harmony Way on Wednesdays at 12:15 PM and Fridays at 9:30 AM at the Wilbraham Senior Center. Class welcomes all ages and uses a...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Come join Mary Budrose on October 17, November 14, December 14, from 7-8pm to learn more about the The Budrose Center For Spiritual Growth healing program and experience a chakra balancing...

Where:
Budrose Center for Spiritual Growth (Blossom Healings)
54 Main Street
Topsfield, MA  01983
View map »


Telephone: 978-561-1687
Contact Name: Mary Budrose
Website »

More information

Join us in the Northeast Reiki Center classroom in Framingham for a Reiki Circle in the Usui Reiki System of Natural Healing. We are a gathering of Reiki practitioners and others interested in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road, Suite B2
Framingham, MA  01701
View map »


Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Weekly yoga classes with Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN of Harmony Way on Wednesdays at 12:15 PM and Fridays at 9:30 AM at the Wilbraham Senior Center. Class welcomes all ages and uses a...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN
Website »

More information

Daoist Priest Zhou Xuanyun teaches traditional Wudang style kung fu.

Cost: $110/month

Where:
Boston Ultimate Fitness
72 Beach Street (4th Floor)
Boston, MA  02111
View map »


Sponsor: Daoist Gate Wudang Arts
Telephone: 508-245-8305
Contact Name: Zhou Xuanyun
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Learn Reiki — revitalizing self-care and healing in the palm of your hands. Facilitated by Lou Orsan, Reiki Shihan (master teacher) This one-day class covers the basic principles of...

Cost: $125

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road, Suite B2
Framingham, MA  01701
View map »


Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

More information

2 Saturday 10:30AM classes to practice IPT Yoga at Sohum in Westborough, MA Want to practice yoga to relieve pain on the bottom of the foot? Integrated Positional Technique (IPT) for...

Cost: $30 per class prereg; $55 for both; $35 each at the door

Where:
Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio
30 Lyman Street
Suite 108b (next to hair salon)
Westborough, MA, MA  01581
View map »


Sponsor: PatLebauYoga
Telephone: 508-393-5581
Contact Name: Pat Lebau
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags