Croup - Topic Overview
How is it treated?
Even though your child's
coughing and troubled breathing can be frightening, home treatment usually
eases the symptoms.
- Try to stay calm during an attack, and soothe your child.
Your child's crying can make the swelling in the windpipe worse and make it even harder to
- Try running a hot shower to create steam. Do NOT put your child in the hot shower. Let the bathroom fill with steam. Have your child breathe in the moist air for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Breathing cool night air also seems to help sometimes. Dress
your child in warm clothes, and go outside for 10 minutes.
- If symptoms improve with these methods, put your child back in
bed. If the symptoms happen during the middle of the night, it is a good idea to
sleep in or near your child's room until morning.
- Be sure to keep your child well hydrated. Offer water,
flavored ice pops (such as Popsicles), or crushed-ice drinks several times
- Do not let anyone smoke around your child or in the house.
- Do not give your child over-the-counter cough or cold medicines. They don't help with croup, and they may not be safe for young children.
If your child's symptoms don't get better after 30
minutes, call your child's doctor. Because attacks often occur in the middle of the night
when your doctor is probably not available, you may have to go to the emergency
If your child has
severe difficulty breathing, call911or other emergency services immediately.
When home treatment isn't enough, medicines such as glucocorticoids or epinephrine may be used to decrease
airway swelling. These are usually given in a doctor's office or an emergency
room. In rare cases, your child may need to stay in the hospital to get extra oxygen or other treatment.