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As a PSP member writes:
"Pretty sure my 2.5-year-old has croup. Any suggestions for home remedies? The humidifier is on, window is wide open. It's breaking my heart to hear him cough so much, all day, all night. He's begging me to make the coughing stop. Help!"
Seek medical attention sooner than later:
""In October, I took my then 12.5 month old to the er with croup. We tried to avoid going to the ER at 3am by bringing him in the steamy bathroom, and giving him albuteral which he takes when he's wheezing. Neither of these things helped, but he actually got a lot better on the walk to the hospital. The doctor there said that the cold air is the best thing for croup and that hot, steamy air doesn't help much. They put him on steroids for a few days, and he was much better the day after our ER visit. The doctor told us that if he has croup again, that we should try taking him out in the cold air, and if that doesn't help, then bring him to the doctor's office/ER so they can give him steroids."
See a doctor and get medicated:
"I don't know how you feel about traditional meds but I had croup a ton when I was little. It’s awful. My son had it and the only thing that really helped was some meds. I believe it might have been a steroid. Ick but it worked."
"Poor kid! When mine had croup (she was about 1.5 yrs old) we had a nebulizer and at first were given albuterol, a steroid. Not a home remedy, but it worked. We alternated w saline... which is basically just humidification. Have you tried bringing him in steamy shower? That helps too."
"Poor both of you! That's way too many days of coughing! (my doc was of the view that a good night's sleep was the most important thing, so that was the reason she pushed steroids for him -- it definitely did help with the sleeping, and the bad effects went away immediately, for whatever that's worth...)"
"I had croup when I was little too. My mom said the biggest thing she could do was turn on the shower and have the steam going. Of course that was in the 70's. But I have not heard of any other remedies. I'm sorry."
Steam it out:
I cranked up our humidifier to 65% (the windows are steamy!), and kept the window open a bit to bring the room to a cool 62 degrees, with him, of course, under a big old pile of blankets and a down comforter. The cold, wet air is keeping his coughs to a minimum and has given him a chance to really snooze. I also steamed up the bathroom a couple times and gave him little spoonfuls of honey. He flat-out refuses to go near Vicks Baby Rub -- feet, chest, nose, NO WAY -- which is fine, because the room is so cold anyway. I think Vapor Rub works by fooling the body into thinking it's breathing cold air, and we've got that covered."
"Run the shower as hot as it will go, steam up the bathroom, sit in there for 5 minutes, and the immediately go to the open window for cool air. Repeat 2 or 3 times. Usually works like a charm. Croup can be dangerous, as it limits the amount of oxygen going in. If he show signs of struggling breathing (pulling in the chest or neck) head to the ER."
"We did story time with the hot shower on steam bath. Then wrap them head to toe and expose to cold so they breath cold air. Most of the time I just did the steam and rest all day. See the doctor for the medicine for if it gets worse (usually at night) and ER if he can't breathe."
"My 3-year old son gets the croup at least once per year (something he unfortunately inherited from me), the latest time being just a couple of weeks ago. Sitting in a steamy bathroom seems to help, but the best remedy has been getting him outside into the fresh, cold air."
"For croup, go in the bathroom with the door shut and turn the shower on hot, let the room get really, really steamy an sit in there with the shower going for 20 minutes or so. This helped our daughter. If it gets worse, you can get an oral steroid medication from the pediatrician -- it does not solve the problem immediately but apparently can give relief. (We got and filled a prescription because our daughter had croup the night before Sandy hit, and wanted to be prepared, but ended up not using it)."
"Croup cough is usually worst in the middle of the night. Not sure why window is open, steam is the key. Put him in the tub and steam up the bathroom. If it doesn't get better after a day or 2 I would go to Pediatrician. It can easily turn into something much worse."
"For us one of the few things that help is Benadryl and if things get really bad cortisone. But also, we see an ENT specialist, as we found pediatricians are not trained to treat croup (the recurrent one)."
Use Vicks and eucalyptus oil:
"My kids have never had croup, but several respiratory viruses. The steaming shower was a staple. I also put a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil in a cup in the shower -- the same ingredient in vicks. it really clears your sinuses. Another thing that really helped was putting Vicks baby rub on feet and covering with socks -- google it."
"Eucalyptus in the sink filled with steaming water. Put your baby’s head over it and a towel over the Head and have them breathe it in for a while."
"My daughter is finally getting over her croup. She's still coughing but not as much as the first 3 days/night. Since her pedi doesn’t want to give her any medicine, we've been Eucalyptus oil as well. I mix a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil to her warm bath. Luke warm water with honey and little bit of fresh lemon juice is what she drink. No cold water. We also use humidifier and pillow at night I hope your little one get better soon. It's hard to see any child suffering. Worst is when a parent treat your child like she has leprosy and run away as soon as they heard your child cough (I don't blame them and don't make it too obvious in front of my child) ."
"I’m remembering that we also used the eucalyptus oil (which I also used during my pregnancy when I couldn’t take meds). And the pillow at night is definitely good to try to prop them up. This might sound crazy, but that first night when I heard the wheezing (before I could get her to the doc), instead of waking her to bring her into the shower, I boiled pots of water and put them near where my daughter was sleeping/breathing. I didn’t have a warm mist humidifier....only a cool one."
"Vicks vapor rub on the bottoms of his feet, with cotton socks over. Amazing."
Try honey, lemon, and hot water:
"Hot water with honey and lemon if he'll drink it. There's also a homeopathic cough syrup (that's basically honey with homeopathic stuff added) that works pretty well too."
Try a nebulizer:
"We put saline or water in a nebulizer and it helps mitigate my daughter's croup cough. We also give her honey. Good luck! It really is awful."
Try cold air:
"Have you tried going outside or standing him in front of the open fridge? My kids' pediatrician told me that croup often improves on the way to the ER from the cold dry air in the middle of the night. Also the complete opposite, sitting in a steamy bathroom may help as well. Croup often gets much worse in the middle of the night and the meds that they give in the ER take a while to work. So you may want to have a plan in place with your kid's dr."
Try a combination of all the above:
"You've probably tried it but honey helps for coughs, as does having them in the bathroom with you with the shower on hot and the door closed (much steamier than a humidifier). Finally, when my son had croup around that age his doctor prescribed steroids, which I hated (I felt they made him hyper and aggressive) but they really helped. Something to consider if it doesn't stop... Good luck! Nothing worse than sick kiddos..."
"My 6-month old had croup. We did the steam and humidifier which did help a bit. However, my doctor (Slope Pediatrics) also prescribed steroids once they listened to his lungs. I know people can be iffy about medication, but I can say that the wheezing cleared up by the next day (the stuffiness did linger a bit), and I was happy we were able to help him get through it. That wheezing is the worst!!"
"The Croup sucks! If you are sure he has it by dr.'s diagnosis, its a virus that has to run its course. Not sure I would leave the windows wide open. Running a hot shower and then sitting in the bathroom to open the airways has been recommended. I also put aquafor on nose and upper lip then put some Vicks vapo rub (just a pinch on upper lip) to help clear up congestion. I've also heard rubbing it on chest and feet before bed. Also, Li'l Noses and Nose sucker helps with congestion. Also, its also important that he keeps hydrated and I've used some light baby massage on the back to help move things out of the lungs. Good luck. It does sound bad and you feel helpless. But viruses have to run their course."