Croup - Home Treatment
Home treatment usually is all that is
needed to treat
croup. You can help prevent major episodes, or
attacks, as well as use techniques to manage attacks if they occur.
Wash your hands often and keep your child away from others to
help prevent spreading croup. Keep your child home from day care or school if
he or she has croup.
Preventing croup attacks
You may be able to
prevent croup attacks of intense troubled breathing and coughing.
If your child has croup:
- Offer plenty of fluids to drink. Always have water available
and try offering other beverages, frozen ice treats (such as Popsicles), or
crushed ice drinks several times each hour.
- Do not smoke, especially in the house.
- Consider using a
humidifier in your child's room. Don't use a hot
vaporizer, and make sure you put only plain water in the humidifier. Although
research has not consistently shown that croup symptoms improve with humidifier
use, using one poses very little risk.1 To prevent
mold growth, be sure to empty, clean, and completely dry out the humidifier
between each use.
Managing attacks of croup
It is important for you
and your child to keep calm during an attack of croup, even though it can be
frightening. If your child is upset, crying, and anxious, the swelling and
narrowing of the airway can become worse. Usually, symptoms sound worse than
Taking measures to manage an episode of croup, such as
adding moisture to the air and keeping your child calm and comfortable, can
help keep symptoms under control. If coughing and difficulty breathing do not
improve within about 30 minutes despite your efforts, call or see your child's
doctor. Because attacks often occur in the middle of the night, you may need to
visit the emergency room.
Over-the-counter cough and cold medicines are not
helpful for treating croup. These medicines may not be safe for young children. Before you give them to a child, check the label. If you do give these medicines to a child, always follow the directions about how much to give based on the child?s age and weight.
For more information on
how to deal with croup at home, see:
- Croup: Managing a Croup Attack.
If your child has
severe difficulty breathing, call911or other emergency services immediately.