It’s that croupy time of year again. The season of being kept up all night by your child’s hoarse, barky sounding, often scary cough. Croup can be very alarming to both parents and children, because of its harsh sound and tendency to come on suddenly in the night, especially following exposure to a cold wind earlier in the day.
Usually caused by a viral infection, croup can lead to swelling in the throat and airways, resulting in the characteristic “seal bark” sound that makes us cringe with sympathy for our little ones. Conventional medical treatments often involve steroids as well as epinephrine if the airway constriction becomes dangerous.
Fortunately, Homeopathic remedies can often offer quick and effective relief, allowing us to avoid or shorten that 2am trip to the ER.
Of course, if at any time things seem to be entering a danger zone, PLEASE seek medical care immediately. Homeopathy is meant to complement, not replace medical care in emergency situations!
The following are guidelines for using the three most common remedies for croup:
Aconitum Napellus — The most important croup remedy to have on hand. Cough comes on suddenly in the night after exposure to a cold wind the previous day. The child (and parents) feel a sense of fear and urgency. The cough sounds like a seal bark and the child is restless, scared, and may have a fever.
Spongia Tosta — Going into the second or third day of croup, when the cough no longer has the sudden, out of nowhere presentation. It will still have the seal bark, sawing-through-wood sound, and can have the feeling of a dry sponge stuck in the throat. The child will be much worse in a warm room or car, and much better in open, cool, or cold air.
Hepar Sulph — Later stages of croup, when the cough will still sound barky and harsh, but will have a slight loose sound to it — definitely an important point to distinguish when choosing this remedy. The patient may be very chilly, seem more ill, and may have choking fits with the cough, due to the more wet nature of the croup.
Dosing: Give 1 dose of a 30c potency every 3 to 4 hours until symptoms are 80% better. You may give a dose of Aconite every 10 minutes for a very scared child who is having trouble breathing, perhaps on the way to the ER. (Please seek medical care as well if your child is truly unable to breathe.) If you have given 3 doses of the remedy, and there is no improvement, it is most likely an incorrect remedy and time to reassess.
*This information is not intended to treat or diagnose illness. Please seek medical attention if you are concerned for the safety of your child.