Croup is an infection affecting the respiratory system such as the larynx, trachea and the bronchial tubes in the lungs. Croup is a condition that develops in children which is usually caused by viral infections in the upper airways, throat and surrounding tissues with a distinctive barking cough.
It is important to note that croup is common among boys. It usually develops among children aged 6 months up to 3 years old, but it can also develop at any age.
Possible causes of croup
- Bacterial infection
- Viral infection due to the parainfluenza virus responsible for causing croup
- Inhalation of irritants
- Acid reflux from the stomach
- A loud barking cough similar to the sound of a barking seal.
- Sometimes, the cough is accompanied by mild cold and flu-like symptoms.
- As the infection becomes severe, the vocal cords become swollen and the airways are narrowed.
- Symptoms becomes worse at night
- Breathing becomes difficult and a harsh sound can be heard when inhaling or stridor.
- Feelings of irritabiliity and agitation
- Symptoms can last for 5-6 nights and symptoms are severe on the first 2 nights of the infection.
If the symptoms last for more than a week, it is best to seek medical help immediately.
- Try to calm the affected child.
- Let the affected child sit up which makes breathing easier
- Let the child drink plenty of liquids to lessen the cough and runny nose. Warm liquids such as vegetable soup, apply juice, lemonade and herbal tea relieves the swelling of the breathing tubes. It relaxes the vocal cords and loosens up the sticky secretions.
- Let the child sit inside the bathroom. Run the shower in the hot setting and let the child inhale the steam inside the bathroom for at least 30 minutes to lessen the symptoms of croup.
- Provide the child with small snacks to prevent choking.
- Take an over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen and paracetamol to lower down the body temperature.
- Honey has medicinal properties that can suppress infections. Add a teaspoon of honey to hot beverages such as tea and drink the solution at regular intervals. Honey can also be mixed with warm water and lemon. It helps relax the throat and eliminates the sticky mucus.
- Drink hot milk mixed with a teaspoon of turmeric powder. Turmeric relaxes the vocal cord. Turmeric contains volatine oils which have therapeutic effects on those who have croup. It prevents sore throat from progressing. Turmeric tea is also good for the condition. Boil a cup of water and mix a teaspoon of turmeric powder and honey. Lemon can also be added to the mixture to improve the healing effect.
- Chew lozenges of ginger with little salt sprinkled over it. Prepare ginger tea by mixing it with holy basil.