Croup. It's right up there with RSV and hand, foot, and mouth disease in its ability to strike fear in the hearts of new moms and dads surviving on scant hours of sleep and strong coffee. Croup generally attacks in the dead of night when everyone is least prepared so arm yourself with knowledge about the illness and these time-tested home remedies.
Croup is a viral infection that causes swelling of the vocal cords and adjacent breathing passages that affects 3% of children a year, mostly in the 6 month to 3 year age group. The virus tends to circulate during the fall and winter months and commonly strikes without warning in the middle of the night. The hallmark symptom with croup is a “seal-bark” cough, caused by air forcing its way through swollen, narrowing vocal cords. If your twins were preemies or are asthmatic. Listen to one of our twin's barking cough as croup attacked at 1:00 AM while we were on vacation.
If your baby seems panicky, cannot be quickly calmed with traditional remedies and is having labored breathing or diminished crying, take your baby to the emergency room immediately. Most children can be effectively treated in the office or emergency room
Dealing with infant illness for just one baby is challenging, but two sick children can feel very overwhelming. Adding a few home remedies to Dr Mom's bag to treat minor croup can help reduce swelling and coughing, and keep your child(ren) calm. These five time tested tips can help ease croup troubles if it ever rears its ugly head in your home.
Creating a calm quiet atmosphere to help manage a croupy cough. The one thing that can escalate croup to something more serious is stress and crying. Rock the baby in a dim room with soft music. Distract your sweety with interesting books or toys. Whatever keeps parent and baby calm will help keep the croup controlled. Babywearing is a great way to calm the fussiest of babies.
Warm steam is a good place to start. Sitting quietly in a bathroom with the shower on its highest setting so baby can breathe in the warm steamy air for about 10 minutes can help loosen up the cough. Putting baby to bed with a cool mist humidifier can reduce coughing and help your cuddle monkey to breathe easy. Many people swear by taking bundled up baby out in the cold night air for about 10 to 20 minutes. Guess grandma’s old wives tails proved right this time? Essential oils are also a popular choice for parents who prefer a gentle approach. Many have had luck diffusing tea tree, thyme, or lavender (or making a vapor rub with these oils). The key is keeping those airways open.
As with many illnesses, hydration can get your babies on the fast track to wellness. If you are nursing babies, try to boost your feeds to ensure that your baby is well hydrated. Especially if you are dealing with fever, replenishing the body with breastmilk/formula, soups, broths, coconut water, or even healthy fruit pops can be great options. Warm liquids can help to relax the vocal chords and soothe the throat. These days you can even buy frozen bone broths that can be easily warmed and turned into a delicious soup. All of the trace minerals and collagen can help the body heal and repair.
Work with gravity not against it. Propping your baby up can help keep airways open and ease breathing. Rock ‘n plays can be great for that slight incline, as can resting on mom or dad in a cozy chair. Even a few books under the crib mattress can give that slight incline that will enable good rest for tired babies.
Croup is contagious, so you may want to try to separate your multiples to prevent both babies from suffering infection. Placing the twins in separate sleeping quarters may also provide much needed calm and sleep. If you need to quiet a stressed out croupy cougher and give your other multiple much needed attention, babywearing both babies in your TwinGo Carrier could be the ticket! Do your best, but don’t beat yourself up (and now may be the time to give yourself permission to throw on a few episodes of Daniel Tiger and order some takeout Chinese food).
Remember if your gut tells you something is off, seek immediate medical attention. You know your babies! Respiratory distress can be very serious and little bodies require swift action to prevent serious consequences. Most cases of croup can be handled at home if you work to get it under control early on, but it never hurts to be overly cautious and seek out professionals if you are uncertain. Keep calm and cuddle on!