Waking from a sound sleep, I hear the hoarse, crying voice of my four year old son. He coughs several times, sounding just like the neighbor’s barking dog. It’s nighttime and it’s the croup, or RSV. I call our pediatrician and make a plan to help keep him comfortable through the night.
RSV, or croup, is often worse during the night and parents need a strategy to help their child breath more freely. Here are some basic recommendations taken from medical references to help treat your child’s symptoms of croup or RSV.
Steam is a natural homeopathic remedy that can open nasal and bronchial passages for freer breathing. For small babies, be sure to consult a medical professional before using this method of treatment. Loosen your child’s clothing and take the child into the bathroom. Run the shower on hot to create a steam air environment. Place the child on your lap and encourage them to breath in the surrounding steam. Be sure to keep the child safely away from the hot water. Run the shower for about ten minutes, dry the child from any dampness, then carry the child into the cooler air. Often this hot/cool air treatment will cause a child’s croupy throat to clear; restoring a more normal breathing pattern.
A cool air humidifier is also a good weapon against the croup or RSV. Position the humidifier near the child’s bed so that the cool mist will circulate within the child’s breathing range. Use purified water and change it at least once a day to prevent bacterial growth. Check the humidifier at least once during the night to be sure that it is properly working.
A mild, over the counter decongestant and expectorant is also helpful. Avoid medications with antihistamine as this drug can make a croupy condition worse. Be sure to follow proper dosing instructions for your child’s age and weight. A decongestant will loosen congestion in the upper respiratory tract, while an expectorant will help prevent severe chest congestion.
These home treatments are recommended by a medical professional in treating the initial stages of croup, or RSV. As the severity of illness is different for each child, parents should consult a medical professional to determine which treatment option is best. Should a child’s breathing pattern become highly irregular, parents should seek professional medical assistance immediately.
Having a child sick with the croup is a scary experience. Parents should be observant during the initial stages of croup and take measures to prevent it from becoming a more serious infection.