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Croup Symptoms and Remedies

The most notable symptom of croup is a loud cough, especially observed at night. A mild condition can be treated with home remedies like a steam bath and moist air inhalation. Here's more...
HolisticZine Staff
Croup is a general term that encompasses diseases caused due to inflammation in the upper respiratory system. In most cases, it is caused due to viral infection. At times, bacterial infection and/or allergy reaction can also produce similar symptoms. Some viruses that cause croup are parainfluenza virus, influenza virus, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, and measles.
Symptoms
Croup is common among children in the age group of above three months and/or below six years. Viral croup (Laryngotracheobronchitis) symptoms are more severe in kids less than three years. Chances of developing viral croup are more in premature babies and those having a family history of respiratory diseases. Croup is referred to as spasmodic, the symptom starts with cold, that further progresses to cough.
  • Swollen respiratory tract lining
  • Throat pain
  • Common cold
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Irregular breathing rhythm
  • Rapid pulse and heart rate
  • Chest sinking in while breathing
  • Hoarse and barking cough
  • Runny nose
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Loss of voice
  • Nausea

The symptoms usually last for 4 - 7 days, and become worse when the infected baby cries. In severe cases, the wind pipe may be partially blocked, which causes the child to breathe rapidly. At times, there may be development of bluish coloration in the mouth area, which is due to the lack of oxygen. Breathing may also be associated with a high-pitched sound, referred to as stridor. In such conditions, the child requires immediate medical attention. Diagnosis is based on the symptoms and the medical history of the infected child. For confirmation of croup, an imaging test like a neck X-ray might be conducted.
Remedies
Croup, caused due to a viral infection, is usually mild and can be treated by using home remedies. If it remains untreated, there is a risk that the infection may progress to the bronchi and lungs. Though chances of complications are rare, some kids may develop pneumonia.
  • Run hot water in the bathroom, with the door closed. Once the bathroom is filled with steam, sit with your child for about 10 - 15 minutes. This will open the airways, making it easier to breathe.
  • Breathing moist air is an instant reliever for breathing difficulty. Let your child inhale moist air by using a cool-mist humidifier or placing a wet cloth over the nose and/or mouth. In cold weather conditions, you can also take your child outdoors, may be to the park for a few minutes.
  • It is advisable to feed semi-liquid or liquid food, as solid food aggravates the throat pain and cough. Liquid food loosens the mucus secretion and keeps the child hydrated. You can switch the diet plan after the child starts breathing normally.
  • Try to comfort your child, as upsetting him/her can worsen the condition. You should prevent your child from getting exposed to stimulants like smoke and dust.

If the symptoms persist even after following these remedies, it is recommended to consult and seek advice from a qualified physician. The doctor may prescribe medications, depending upon the severity of the condition. It is to be noted that croup is highly contagious and requires treatment as soon as possible. Since the condition occurs mostly in winter and spring, it is better to take proper care of the kid's health during these seasons, in order to prevent infection.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.