Croup is a condition known as laryngotracheobronchitis. It is a type of respiratory infection that is caused by a virus, resulting in tracheal swelling. This, in turn, interferes with breathing and swallowing. Symptoms of croup includes a hoarse voice, cough, fever, runny nose, and stridor. The severity of the symptoms may vary.
Patients with croup often report to have more severe symptoms in the evening. Some examples of viruses that can cause croup are the influenza and parainfluenza viruses. In rare cases, it can also be due to a bacterial infection. Diagnosis of croup may be achieved based on the signs and symptoms the patient experiences. Investigations such as blood tests, blood cultures, and x-rays are usually unnecessary. Most cases of croup are preventable through vaccination or immunization for diphtheria and influenza. Treatment may include the use of steroids and inhaled epinephrine. Hospital admission may be required in some cases.
Croup is a common condition affecting about 15 percent of children. It is most commonly seen among those between the ages of 6 months to 5 years old. Before vaccination for diphtheria was available, croup was often fatal. It is important to seek immediate medical attention if the affected individual experiences trouble swallowing, drooling, has a high fever (above 102F), has difficulty breathing, or has blue lips or fingers.
Home Remedy #1: Steam
Steam inhalation is a great home remedy for those with croup. This can be done by turning on the hot shower in the bathroom or using a humidifier, as warm and moist air help to reduce the swelling in the airways and relax the vocal cords. This enables patients with croup to be able to breathe easier.
Those without a humidifier or hot shower can pour boiling water into a bowl and let the patient breathe in the vapor that comes up from it. For additional benefit, essential oils such as eucalyptus can also be added to the water or humidifier.