By Neepa Sevak
It is the middle of the night and a loud barking cough from your child’s room suddenly awakens you. This is a condition called croup which is caused by an infection that leads to swelling and narrowing of the voice box (larynx) and the windpipe (trachea). Your child may have a common cold for a few days and then one night suddenly develop a loud, barking cough with or without wheezing and breathing difficulty. Croup is mostly common in infants and children between the ages of 3 months and 5 years old but it can happen at any age.
Causes of Croup
- Parainfluenza virus, Adenovirus, Respiratory syncytial virus, Coxsackie virus, Influenza, Measles, Bacteria, Allergies and Inhaled irritants
- Children born prematurely or born with narrowed upper airways and who have a history of asthma are more vulnerable to croup.
- Swelling of the tissue that covers the windpipe (epiglottis), due to a foreign object lodged in the throat.
- Acid reflux from the stomach can also trigger croup.
- Croup is contagious and can be transmitted through airborne droplets produced by coughing and sneezing, or passed from one person to another by touch.
Symptoms of Croup
- Loud cough that may sound like the barking of a dog
- Difficulty breathing or wheezing, the child may have a squeaking sound on inhaling which is known as stridor
- The cough is usually worse at night
- Cold with a stuffy or runny nose
- Drooling from mouth in very small children
- Occasional fever
- Hoarseness of voice
- Child may appear bluish around the mouth, nose and nails because of not getting enough oxygen. This may require hospitalization
Homeopathic Approach to Croup
With today's concern regarding the side effects of conventional prescription and over the counter drugs, the Homeopathic method being safe and natural is enjoying a popular revival. Homeopathic remedies are based on a natural medical science that works by stimulating your own immune system to fight an infection, thus making a person more able to effectively destroy a virus. Homeopathic Medicine relieves symptoms by helping to put your body's systems into proper balance. Because Homeopathic medicines support the body's own defenses, they do not cause side effects. Homeopathic remedies are regulated by the FDA and prepared according to the Homeopathic Pharmacopia of the United States. In case of a croup, the homeopathic remedies will help soothe the swollen and irritated tissues by reducing swelling and will gently loosen and expel mucus. Also, homeopathic treatment can prevent a croup patient from developing post-viral complications like ear infections, pneumonia or an airway obstruction. Based on the classical approach, a homeopathic practitioner looks at the person holistically, that is mind, body and emotion together and not just at the symptoms of the illness. Homeopathic treatment enhances resistance to infection. Patients undergoing homeopathic treatment often notice that they get fewer illnesses because their general level of health has been improved.
Self Care Tips
- Humidifying the air with a cool-mist humidifier and having the child breathe in moist air will break a croup attack.
- Mist up the bathroom with hot shower steam. Sit with your child and allow him to inhale this steam. This will immediately help relieve the croup attack.
- During cooler months, taking the child outside for a few minutes can help break the attack because the cool air can shrink the swollen tissues lining the airway.
- Elevating the head while lying or sitting upright makes breathing easier.
- Make sure your child is well hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
- Drinking warm fluids or sucking on a cool ice pop may be soothing.
- Frequent hand washing.
- Avoid contact with people who have respiratory infections.
- Maintain a smoke free environment because smoke aggravates croup symptoms.
Hence, to relieve the symptoms of croup by promoting the immune system with the help of a safe, natural and effective treatment consider homeopathy.