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Croup Coughing: Symptoms, Cause, Treatment

- Updated on August 13, 2020

Croup Coughing: Symptoms, Cause, Treatment 1By Dr. Artour Rakhimov, Alternative Health Educator and Author

- Medically Reviewed by Naziliya Rakhimova, MD

Child with croup coughing What is a croup cough? Croup is a respiratory condition that results in swelling of airways, usually due to a viral infection and a harsh barking croup cough. It is most common among children 1 to 5 years old and rarely happens in adults and teenagers since they have larger airways.

The infection accompanied by croup is usually contagious. Hand-washing, strictly nasal breathing (to prevent infections entering through the mouth), and other hygienic precautions are crucial for the health of the household members. For mouth breathing effects, visit Mouth breathing problems.

Cause of croup coughing

Effects of overbreathing on brain O2 In most cases, croup cough is caused by alveolar hyperventilation (breathing more air than the medical norm) that leads to hypocapnia (deficiency of CO2 or carbon dioxide). Hypocapnia causes constriction of airways, promotes chronic inflammation, and an irritable state of the nerve cells leading to chronic expression of the urge-to-cough reflex. Other effects of alveolar hypocapnia are reduced body-oxygen content, production of free radicals in hypoxic cells, and the suppressed immune system due to tissue hypoxia. The dysfunctional immune system cannot prevent infections and, superficially, infections look like the cause of croup, but in reality, chronic hyperventilation is the cause of a croup cough.

Treatment of croup coughing

Most cases of a croup cough do not require ER (Emergency Room) treatment. However, if your child’s breathing gets even heavier, severe hyperventilation will cause: skin retractions (observe the skin between the ribs pulling in with each inhalation), a fatigued and very sick appearance, difficulty swallowing, drooling, stridor (squeaking sounds when inhaling), a color around the mouth, and symptoms of dehydration. Pay attention to all these signs in kids. They indicate that the situation has gotten more dangerous.

Home treatment

Many leading healthcare providers continue to claim that use of humidified air is useful in the management of a croup cough at home. Is there medical evidence to support humidified air inhalation? Note that some parents and doctors still report that they get benefits from breathing steam from a hot bath (with or without essential oils) during croup cough attacks. However, the results of clinical trials in relation to the usefulness of humidified air will be surprising for many people. There are three medical abstracts that are posted right below here as your bonus content.

Here are much better steps to reduce the severity of croup in children.

The clinical experience of medical doctors practicing breathing retraining has found that it is possible to reduce the duration and severity of a croup cough and respiratory infections. (Normally, these viral infections last for 3-5 days.). Step No. 1 is to teach a child, if possible, how to cough only through the nose to prevent CO2 losses and boost the immune system. Next, this simple breathing exercise on how to stop a cough in adults will help children too. The exercise should be practiced by adults and then taught to children to stop their croup attacks. It also helps kids to fall asleep faster. YouTube Video: How to Cure a Cough.

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