Sometime last week around 3 a.m. I woke up to the sound of a seal barking. It to a few minutes for me to realize that it was my son coughing. My next thought was, “Oh boy, here we go again with the croup.” My husband and I are no strangers to croup since my oldest son typically gets it once or twice a year. The first time he had croup he was about 18 months old and I was just finishing my advanced classes in acupuncture pediatrics. I had studied croup and heard the audio recordings of it, but it still didn’t register in my sleep deprived and slightly panicked brain that night. I was scared because my son was having difficulty breathing and he was making these high pitched wheezing sounds called stridor! Before I completely panicked and took him to the ER, I called our pediatrician who, god bless her, called us back in the middle of the night. The second she heard him in the background she knew what was going on and recommended some natural remedies for croup.
To learn more about what croup is and hear some audio recordings Click Here. The good news about croup is the majority of the time parents can treat it at home and it rarely requires medical intervention.
Here is What You Can do During a Croup Attack:
- Sit with him in the bathroom with a steamy hot shower running (usually for 10 – 15 minutes)
- Aconitum Napellis homeopathic remedy (any potency) to help sudden onset of cough with the anxiety associated with difficulty breathing – give 3 to 4 pellets every 5 t0 10 minutes until the child calms down.
- Spongiatosta homeopathic remedy (any potency) for croupy cough – give 3 -4 pellets a couple times
- Keep him quiet and calm with lots of soothing words and slowing breathing
- Drink a few sips of warm water
- Acupressure on the points below (or in my case I’ll do a little acupuncture right then)
Prevent Croup from Happening Again the Next Day:
- Keep your child well hydrated
- Continue Spongiatosta remedy 4 pellets 3x/day (every time we’ve done this, the croup episode lasts only one night)
- Herbal Remedies for treating any other cold or upper respiratory symptoms
- Avoid dairy since it creates mucus
- Sip warm teas
- Sip warm bone broth
Massage Techniques and Acupressure Points to Treat and Prevent Croup
- Percardium 6 to open up the chest and help with cough, anxiety and nausea
- Lung 9 - for cough
- Massage the child’s upper back between the shoulder blade and spine on both sides, vigorously until skin gets a little pink. This stimulates acupoints to support the lungs and boost immunity. Please see my post Pediatric Tuina for Cough for more details on massaging your child to treat and prevent cough.
- Line pressing on the ring finger. Start at the last line of the finger and rub outward towards the tip. Lift and repeat rapidly about 100 – 300 times. For more information on the line pressing technique see my post Parents Guide to Pediatric Tuina Massage for basic techniques.
If your child is having a severe case of croup with extreme difficulty breathing or the symptoms aren’t resolving after trying natural remedies they may require medical intervention. Conventional treatments typically include nebulizer with albuterol or other broncho-dilators to help open the airways and ease breathing quickly.
It can be a little scary if you’ve never experienced croup before! If you’re not sure if it’s croup, call your pediatrician and they’ll help you determine whether it is or not. Try the natural remedies above and I think you’ll be happy with results and in the process you’ll become a pro at dealing with seals barking in the night.
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