Is your child suffering from croup? If you do not know what this is, croup is a common viral infection (usually a parainfluenza virus) that often affects children between the ages of 6 months and 3 years, but it can infect adolescents and adults as well. The illness can be contracted when a child breathes in infected respiratory droplets that an infected person sneezes or coughs into the air. If you notice symptoms like a stuffy or runny nose, fever, slight cough or one that eventually turns into a sound like a seal’s bark, laryngitis and stridor, your child could possibly have croup.
Before you consider going to a doctor to treat your little one’s croup, you might want to try using a home remedy instead – many cases of croup can be treated successfully at home. Here is a look at some of the best home remedies for croup:
6 Natural and Safe Home Remedies for Croup
1. Warm Steam
Do you want to know one of the most effective home remedies for croup? Warm steam! It can do wonders in alleviating congestion and making breathing significantly easier. The warm moisture from the steam also helps in thinning the mucus, which in turn makes it easier to expel.
What to Do:
- First, run a hot shower, making sure that all bathroom windows and the door are closed so that the steam does not escape.
- Sit with your child in the steamy room. Needless to say, you should never leave children alone in the bathroom.
- Sit in the bathroom for at least 30 minutes so your little one can inhale the steam.
- Repeat as required.
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2. Sponge Bath
If your child has fever due to croup, a sponge bath can help lower it. With a cool water sponge bath, you can help in regulating your little one’s body temperature and relieve the fever. It will also make your child feel relaxed and help him or her get better sleep.
What to Do:
- Firstly, take a soft washcloth and soak it with room temperature water and then wring out the excess water.
- Next, sponge your little one’s hands, feet, armpits and groin. You can do this 2 or 3 times a day.
- If your child has fever, you can place a damp washcloth on his or her forehead and change it every 2 to 3 minutes to bring down the fever.
- You can give older children a cool shower or bath.
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Have you heard of the many medicinal powers of ginger? Now you can use it to treat your child’s croup too. With its antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antitussive, i.e., cough suppressant properties, ginger can help in reducing congestion and providing relief from the symptoms of croup. This herbal remedy also reduces inflammation in the air passages.
What to Do:
- Mix ½ cup of thin ginger slices of ginger and 2 sticks of cinnamon in a pan with 6 cups of water.
- Simmer it for 20 minutes, strain and add a small amount of raw honey.
- Let your child drink this solution several times a day. For babies below the age of 1, dilute the liquid with some water and skip the honey.
- For children of 1 year and older, make an effective remedy with equal parts of ginger juice, honey and pomegranate juice. Give 1 tablespoon of this home remedy 3 times a day.
- For older children, chewing on ginger lozenges sprinkled with a bit of salt can help immensely.
One more of the many effective home remedies for croup in children is turmeric. Its anti-inflammatory properties work to reduce inflammation in the airways, thereby making it easier to breathe. The volatile oils that it contains can also help in soothing and preventing a sore and scratchy throat.
What to Do:
- Give your child a glass of hot milk mixed with 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder twice a day to relax the inflamed vocal cords.
- You can also boil 1 cup of water mixed with 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder for 2 minutes. Add a bit of lemon juice and raw honey. Let your child drink this mixture 2 times a day.
Caution: Do not add honey if your child is under the age of 1.
- For children who are at least 1 year old, a mixture of 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and 2 teaspoons of organic honey a few times a day can help.
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If your child is above the age of 1, you can use honey as an effective natural remedy for croup. It has immunity-boosting, antioxidant and antibiotic properties, making it extremely effective in combating bacterial and viral infections. Honey also helps immensely in relieving the symptoms of croup. Compared to all the other home remedies for croup, this is by far the easiest.
What to Do:
- Add 1 teaspoon of raw honey to 1 cup of warm milk or water. Let your child drink this mixture 2 or 3 times daily.
- You can also give your child a mixture of 2 teaspoons of raw honey and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice 2 to 3 times a day.
Caution: You should not give honey to babies younger than 1 year old. This is because honey may contain bacteria that can potentially cause infantile botulism.
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6. Massage with Essential Oil
One of the best ways to help your child relax and relieve the symptoms of croup, such as tight muscles, is to give your child a gentle chest massage with an appropriate essential oil. An essential oil massage will also help make it easier for your child to breathe.
What to Do:
- Take ½ a cup of warm extra-virgin olive oil and add 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Massage your child’s chest gently with this aromatic oil. This is especially great before bedtime as it will help your little one sleep better.
- You can also massage your child with a mixture of 10 to 15 drops of oregano oil and 2 tablespoons of jojoba oil. Again, you should do this before bedtime as it will help in easing your child’s coughing while sleeping. You can use this blended oil to massage your child’s feet to promote relaxation.
Also read: Home remedies for cough
As you can see, you do not need to use medications to give your child relief from the symptoms of croup. These home remedies for croup are safe and effective as most symptoms of the illness are mild enough to be treated at home. If your child experiences more serious symptoms such as abnormally fast or difficulty breathing, unusual agitation or restlessness, flaring nostrils, a bluish skin color, especially on the fingernails or lips, or abnormal sucking in of the abdominal or chest muscles, which occurs when a child with croup struggles to breathe, you should immediately consult a doctor.