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My Child Has Croup – What Should I Do?

HEALTH: Croup cough is caused by inflammation of the upper airways. Usually triggered by a virus, the voice box and windpipe become inflamed, causing a barking cough and hoarseness.

It is often made worse by crying, which makes it hard to deal with in young children, especially babies. Most cases of croup are mild and can be treated at home – however, some more severe cases may need to be treated with steroids, so if you are concerned, make sure to visit your doctor.

Symptoms of croup:

While coughing is a main symptom of croup, it has a distinctive barking or 'seal-like' sound, which is quite different from other coughs and colds. Other croup symptoms may include:

  • Stuffy or runny nose

  • Hoarse voice

  • Barking cough

  • High pitched squeaking noise during inhalation (stridor)

  • Pale skin

Is it contagious?

The actual cough associated with croup is not contagious. However, the virus that causes it is. If your child comes into contact with someone with croup, it is unlikely they will catch it, but they may catch the runny nose and head cold that comes along with it.

How is it treated?

Mild croup can be treated at home with lots of steam, plenty of rest and fluids. Some medication, such as ibuprofen (only in children over six months) may be recommended. Severe croup may be treated with steroids, prescribed by your doctor.

Can you help this mom?

One of our moms left a message on our Facebook page, telling us about her baby daughter who has croup: I have a seven-and-a-half month old. She has croup cough and at the moment, it only occurs at night. The poor little thing is exhausted and she starts to panic because she finds it hard to catch her breath. Has anyone any tips to help with the croup? Thanks very much.

We had some great feedback and advice from the eumom community, so here is a selection to help other moms dealing with the same issue.

Advice from moms:
"Before bed, rub Vicks Vaporub on her feet and then put some socks on her. It's the best thing for any cough."

"I got a humidifier in Argos Extra. It's cold steam, so is safe to leave in a baby's room. Leave the humidifier on overnight, it really helps."

"Steam, steam, steam. It's the only thing that helps ease it. Turn the shower on hot and let the room fill with the steam, then sit her on your lap and let her breath it in. Some Vicks melted in boiling water in the room would help too."

"My son used to get croup when he was younger, and still gets it occasionally. Steam the child first, even sitting in the bathroom with the shower running and the door closed. After a few minutes, bring the child outside for a brief period. If it's raining and you don't want to do this, bring your child to an open window for a few minutes. Repeat the steam and cold air process. It really works."

"Try to help her sleep by propping her up with pillows."

"Make sure and take her to the GP, she may need a course of steroids."

"Put Snuffle Babe on the soles of her feet and her chest. Put Olbas Oil for children on a tissue and put it in her room about half an hour before she goes to beds. This works for my 13-month-old and he had it very bad at Christmas. Hope she will be ok."

Have you got experience with croup? Do you have any more tips and advice to share with our moms? Leave a comment below and help other moms dealing with croup.

About the Author

Editor of eumom.ie, Mairéad Cahalan is a creator of content, a lover of music, red wine and coffee, and a part-time wedding singer! Find her on Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud and LinkedIn.

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