Croup mostly affects babies and young children and it is almost always worse at night. Although it’s usually mild, it can be very alarming to see your child struggling to breathe with a harsh, even barking cough so it should be carefully watched and treated as it can occasionally cause swelling that constricts the respiratory passages.
Croup is more common in the autumn or winter and more common in boys than girls apparently!
The first thing to do is put your child into a steamy atmosphere. Depending on their age it could be in the bathroom with a hot shower or tap running, or in any small space with a kettle boiling. Warm, moist air almost always eases their symptoms.
There are three main homeopathic remedies which work like magic in croup:
Aconite 200C – if the cough begins shortly after midnight and your child is scared try this. This remedy is often useful during the beginning stages of an illness, especially if symptoms have come on quickly, so if the symptoms have come on slowly and been around a while this isn’t the right remedy.
Spongia 200C – if it’s nearer 2am and the cough sounds like a saw cutting wood think of this remedy, especially if cold drinks or talking make the cough worse.
Hepar-sulph 200C – if the cough starts around 3am. The cough is more rattling and the child will feel very irritable and worse if it’s cold or drafty.
Choose whichever of the remedies is most indicated and give it every half hour or so whilst symptoms are present. Once symptoms improve hopefully you can all go to sleep, but should they waken with the cough again, continue the treatment.