As a parent, there can be nothing more distressing than to see your little one in distress.
Croup can be particularly frightening, especially if the child starts gasping for breath.
But what is croup, and what causes it?
Croup is a childhood illness that is caused by the same viruses that cause the common cold and infect the upper airways.
Infants and toddlers between 6 months and 3 years of age are at the most risk of getting croup – but children who are younger or older can also get it. If your child has croup, they’ll probably have the symptoms of a cold for a few days, then develop a seal-like barky cough, hoarseness, and noisy breathing.
Croup usually lasts for 5–6 days and is more common in colder weather.
The viruses that cause croup are contagious and spread when people cough or sneeze, but not every child that gets the virus will get croup, they may just have symptoms of a cold.
When croup is serious
Take your child to the nearest emergency department or call a doctor immediately if:
They seem to be struggling to breathe (worse than the noisy breathing)
They appear extremely anxious or frightened, or look blue
They’re dribbling and cannot swallow
They cannot speak
Their chest sinks in when trying to breathe in
They make a whistling or crowing sound while breathing in.
Conventional treatment of Croup involves using medications such as
Oral cortisone, Antipyretics and Vasoconstrictors.
Homeopathic medicine can work swiftly to ease the symptoms of Croup, without unwanted side effects and without disturbing your child’s homeostasis.
When selecting a homeopathic remedy, look at your child’s overall symptom picture and match the remedy that fits most of their symptoms. It doesn’t need to match all of them - look at the keynotes and if they fit, give the remedy a try. I recommend 30c potency remedies for home prescribers.
My rule of thumb for Acute prescribing is to give one dose every four hours, for up to four doses. If the symptoms don’t improve after that time, then change the remedy. If there is some improvement but there are lingering symptoms, you can use the same remedy in a higher potency (200c), or retake the case, see what’s changed, and see if there is a better remedy match.
Top four homeopathic remedies for Croup:
Use Aconite as soon as symptoms appear when your child has woken up soon after falling asleep. The Aconite cough sounds dry and barking, it often comes on after exposure to dry cold wind or getting chilled. The child needing Aconite will be restless, frightened, and anxious and clings to their parents. Their skin will be 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. The Spongia cough is a dry, barking, suffocative cough that sounds like a saw going through wood. It can also sound like a seal’s bark. There may be some whistling with breathing, but there is no loose rattle. The cough is worse at midnight or shortly before or after. It is better for eating and drinking, but cold drinks make it worse. The child feels better sitting upright or bending the head forward.
This remedy comes in at a later stage when mucus is produced. The Hepar Sulph cough is wetter and rattling. The child may be choking with every coughing fit, there may also be a thick yellow phlegm. The cough is worse after midnight, around 2-4 am. They may be cranky, very chilly, and hate being uncovered. These children are very sensitive to cold – cold air, cold drinks, and anything cold makes their cough worse. They feel better when throwing their head backward while coughing.
This remedy is useful for fits of coughing that cannot stop and can end in retching. This cough can make the child hoarse or lose their voice, is often worse at night, and can be worse at bedtime but has little coughing during the day.
Other helpful remedies:
For a rattling cough and difficulty breathing. Cough occurs in attacks with hoarseness. Air is expelled with a barking sound. The breathing noise is sharp, rough, whistling type.
For a barking cough both day and night. The cough may be dry, short, tickling, hacking, or loose. The child may have phlegm that is stringy in nature and has a salty taste. Continuous irritation may be felt in the larynx and trachea. There is also pain, roughness, dryness, and burning in the larynx. Hoarseness of voice also occurs. Fever is present along with the above symptoms.
Helpful for coughs with yellow, stringy phlegm. There can be difficulty breathing along with pain and soreness in the larynx. Fever and a runny nose may be present with a cough. Most times the cough is worse in the morning.
If the cough is persisting or you’re having trouble deciding which remedy to use, please contact me for an Acute consultation which includes 48 hours of email follow-up.