What do you do when your child woke in the middle of the night with croup? They are barking and their breathing is laboured. You are nervous and frightened. Seeing your child gasping for breath is nerve wracking. Grab your homeopathic first aid kit – homeopathy for croup will help you manage your child’s symptoms and they will soon be sound asleep.
What is croup?
Croup is a common childhood illness. This viral infection usually occurs in children under 3 or 4 years of age. Inflamed voice box called larynx and windpipe called trachea, become swollen. This interferes with breathing.
Croup has a characteristic harsh, barking cough. Breathing may be louder than usual and it may sound rasping. Child’s voice may become hoarse. They may develop a fever, runny nose and watering eyes.
Croup – when to go to the hospital?
Most cases respond swiftly to homeopathy for croup. Sometimes, though, the child gets worse quickly and needs to go to the hospital. Signs that urgent medical attention is in order include:
- child is obviously struggling to breathe even in between the coughing fits;
- their lips and skin around the mouth turn bluish or greyish;
- they become very quiet, listless and limp.
Pay special attention if you hear that your child continuously makes this high-pitched noise when breathing in, called stridor. Have a listen to how it sounds.
This may indicate that their epiglottis is inflamed. Epiglottis is a flap of tissue that sits at the back of the throat. It closes the windpipe when we eat to make sure that the food doesn’t get into the airways. Inflammation of epiglottis, epiglottitis, can be life-threatening and always needs hospital treatment.
If you feel that your child needs to go to the hospital, take your remedies with you. You can give them homeopathy for croup on the way.
Homeopathy for croup – three main remedies
Use Aconite as soon as symptoms appear, when your child has woken up soon after falling asleep. Cough sounds dry and barking, it often comes on after an exposure to dry cold wind or getting chilled. Child is restless, frightened and anxious and clings to parents. Their skin is dry and there is no mucus.
Aconite may stop croup in its tracks, or at least make the illness milder. Croup can be very frightening for the parents, so if you feel you are panicking take the remedy too!
If Aconite hasn’t done much consider moving on to Spongia. It has dry, barking, suffocative cough that sounds like a saw going through wood. Cough can also sound like a seal’s bark. Whistling can accompany breathing, there is no loose rattle. Cough is worse at midnight or shortly before or after. It is better for eating and drinking, but cold drinks make it worse. Child feels better sitting upright or bending head forward.
- Hepar Sulph
This remedy comes in at a later stage, when mucus is produced. Cough is more wet and rattling. Child may be choking with every coughing fit, there is thick yellow phlegm. Cough is worse after midnight, around 2-4 am. They may be cranky, very chilly and hate being uncovered. Very sensitive to cold – cold air, cold drinks, anything cold makes their cough worse. They feel better when throwing their head backwards while coughing.
Homeopathy for croup – other remedies
Child feels like he is suffocating. The cough is much worse during sleep and better when they are awake. If you feel that you are afraid to let your child go back to sleep because they get so much worse, think of Lachesis. When this remedy is indicated, the child hates anything touching his throat and can tear at the collar of his pyjamas. They won’t let you touch their neck. Stuffy room makes them feel worse and they crave open air.
We have many more homeopathic remedies for croupy cough, some of them I listed in the post Homeopathic remedies for cough Part 2.
Home remedies for croup
In addition to homeopathy for croup, you can do a lot to help your child at home. The more tense they get, the harder it is to breathe. So first of all, try to relax (take a dose of Aconite if needed). When you are relaxed and calm, your child feels safer and begins to settle as well. This helps the airways relax.
Get your child into a steamed up bathroom. Warm moist air is very good for dry irritated respiratory tract. You can also use air humidifier in their bedroom. Dry air aggravates the cough.
I also suggest to take a sponge or towel, soak it in hot water, wring it out and apply to the throat and chest. This helps relax the muscles.
Most people have heard about taking the child outside into the cold air. While it may help some children, it’s definitely not good for others. For example, if your child needs Hepar sulph, taking him out into the cold will make him feel much worse. Those children needing Lachesis, however, will get relief in the open cold air. Spongia feels better in frosty air but worse in cold air, so it can become tricky to figure out what to do. I suggest to try it once briefly and see whether this helps your child’s symptoms. If it’s warm outside, you can hold them against an open freezer for a minute.
If you want to learn about more ways to care for cough at home, jump over to Homeopathy for cough Part 1.
I hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions or would like to book an appointment, please feel free to contact me. I am a qualified professional offering expert homeopathic treatment in Dublin and Online. Family discounts available.