Using techniques to help your child
control symptoms of
croup can help prevent the need to see a doctor at a
clinic or emergency room. These techniques focus on keeping your child's airway
open to make breathing easier.
Keep calm and soothe your child. Anxiety and
panic can make symptoms worse.
Recognize that symptoms often sound
and appear worse than they really are.
croup attack usually can be managed at home. To help manage your child's
episode of croup:
Keep calm. An episode of severe coughing and
breathing difficulty from croup can be unsettling or frightening. But it is
usually not as severe as it sounds. Staying calm will help reassure your child
and may prevent symptoms from becoming worse.
Use techniques that
soothe and comfort your child. If your child becomes upset and anxious, croup
symptoms may get worse. For example, crying can make breathing more difficult.
Provide comfort by holding or rocking your child. You may also be able to
distract your child by reading a book, working a puzzle, or watching
Create moist air. If you have a
humidifier, hold your child and let the vapor blow
directly into his or her face. You can also go with your child into the
bathroom, shut the door, and turn on all the hot water faucets to create a
moist and steamy atmosphere. Let your child breathe in the moist air for
Take your child outside. Exposure to cool outdoor
air often helps open a child's airways, reducing the coughing and breathing
difficulty of a croup attack. Make sure your child is bundled up appropriately
before going out.
If symptoms improve with these methods, put your child back
in bed with the humidifier blowing nearby. Do not smoke, especially in the
house. If the episode occurs during the middle of the night, it is a good idea
to sleep in or near your child's room until morning.
important to keep your child well hydrated. Offer water, noncaffeinated drinks,
flavored ice treats (such as Popsicles), or crushed ice drinks several times
Your child may have recurrent attacks throughout the
night. As long as symptoms improve with these methods, even briefly, your child
should gradually feel better and you likely will not need immediate medical
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.