Most frequently occurring amongst toddlers and young children, croup is characterized by constant barking cough and raspy breathing. Before the coughing, children may first experience mild cold-like symptoms such as runny nose, congestion, sore throat and a slight fever. As it is usually caused by a virus that specifically affects the airways, common cold and flu remedies like cough syrup or antibiotics tend not to work. Croup also has a tendency to be worse at night, with many children unable to sleep due to the fits of coughing. Symptoms are most severe in the first two days, and should completely clear up on their own after a week. Although not fatal, there’s no denying the discomfort caused by croup. To alleviate some of the discomfort caused by the constant coughing, or help your child sleep better, you may want to try some home remedies for croup.
To start off, here are some really easy things you can do right now to make your child feel better:
Now that you’ve done the easy stuff, it’s time to consider the other options. One such option is essential oils. Whether through a diffuser, rubbed on the body or a compression, essential oils are a common natural home remedy. Whilst it cannot completely replace hydration, rest, or medicine, essential oils can provide relief for severe symptoms. When purchasing essential oils, be sure to look for relevant accreditation, serious sellers and check the oils when you receive them to ensure you have received a good batch. Good essential oils will always come in dark bottles to decrease the risk of oxidization. Essential oils are usually sold in 10ml bottles, as a little tends to go a long way.
Cool air will be more comfortable for your child’s inflamed airways, so when choosing a diffuser or humidifier for croup, make sure it is not steam based, and won’t heat up the air. When using a diffuser always be sure to use clean water, preferably distilled, as anything in the water is dispersed into the air through the mist. Diffusers are a worthwhile investment because they aren’t only useful for treating croup, but can also be used with any other essential oils to make a room smell good. If your child is prone to seasonal allergies, the diffuser will also help keep the air moist and less irritable to the sinuses.
An example of a mist diffuser is the VicTsing Wood Grain Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Oil Diffuser. This water based aromatherapy oil diffuser is a well-reviewed and affordable option. With four time setting modes and a dimmable colorful LED light, this machine diffuses scent throughout the room using a cool mist. With a full tank of clean water, this diffuser can provide up to ten hours of mist time. Simply add a few drops of essential oil to the water tank, and the scent will be diffused through the air.
If you want a larger diffuser that will run longer, and humidify the room faster, perhaps consider the Tenergy Pluvi Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier. Although it is a pricier option, it comes with a 2.5 liter water tank designed to run for 8-25 hours. Unlike most humidifiers on the market, the Pluvi comes with an activated carbon filter to keep the mist odour-less and the essential oil scent pure. The diffuser is also sold with one extra carbon filter, and it is recommended that the carbon filter is replaced after one year of use. This diffuser also has a special tab to add essential oils to the water. When the diffuser detects no water in the tank, it will automatically turn itself off.
One of the best essential oils to use with these diffusers is the Plant Therapy Essential Oil Sniffle Stopper. Designed with a kid safe formula, the Sniffle Stopper contains a combination of non-GMO cypress, spearmint, rosalina, spruce hemlock and cedarwood oil. The cool crisp scent of this oil can provide respiratory system relief. This is an undiluted oil, so use sparingly and be sure to dilute before using on the body.
If you are interested in other essential oil scents to use with a diffuser, you can also consider the Edens Garden “OK For Kids” 6 Set. This set of kid-friendly blended essential oils from Edens Garden contains one each of the Bee Happy, Healthy Hero, Up & At’Em, Sleepy Head, Sniffles & Sneezes and Study Buddy. The Bee Happy is a fun, fruity and floral scent to bring happiness. The Healthy Hero is an immunity booster blended for on-the-go sanitation. The Up & At’Em is an energizing blend to help awaken your child in the mornings. The Sleepy Head oil is a relaxing blend to help with sleep and the Study Buddy is to help with concentration. For croup treatment, we recommend using the Sniffles & Sneezes in a diffuser or diluted to 1% to use as a chest rub oil. The Sniffles & Sneezes blend contains Silver Fir, Cedarwood, Pine, Spruce, Sweet Orange and Lavender oils, which will offer respiratory system relief. If using as a chest rub, dilute Sniffles & Sneezes synergy blend with a child-safe carrier oil such as coconut oil or almond oil.
If your child is 6 years or older, you can also consider applying a DIY essential oil warm compress to their chest. Add a few drops of essential oil to hot water, then soak a towel or piece of fabric in it. After wringing out the excess water, apply the towel over the chest, and remove once the compress has cooled. For croup, or any type of cough, we recommend using a combination of eucalyptus oil and peppermint oil. 4oz bottles like the ArtNaturals 100% Pure Eucalyptus Essential Oil and Essentially KateS. Peppermint Essential Oil are very good value, and the oil can also be used for other home treatments or cleaning. These same oils can also be used in a diffuser. Before using any essential oils on the skin, be sure to check safe age requirements and run allergy tests to make sure your child is not allergic.
Although using these home remedies may help alleviate your child’s croup symptoms, be aware of any other symptoms that may develop. Unusual difficulty breathing, paleness, and a constant fever could all be symptoms of another illness. Children can also develop a secondary bacterial infection from croup, which would then require an antibiotic treatment. Being vigilant of these symptoms and consulting a health professional as early as possible are important to preventing croup from developing into a more severe disease such as pneumonia. Additionally, if your child has had more than two croup episodes, it’s also advisable to seek professional medical advice.