A childhood disease characterized by a resonant barking cough, suffocative
and difficult breathing, laryngeal spasm, and sometimes by the formation
of a membrane. The membranous croup is an inflammation of the larynx
with exudation forming a false membrane.
Several viruses may cause this disease. These include parainfluenza,
respiratory syncytial, and various influenza viruses. Sometimes croup
is caused by a cold, bronchitis,
or an allergy, but can also occur when
a foreign body is inhaled. Attacks frequently occur at night. Prognosis
of membranous croup is grave, unless tracheostomy has been performed.
The illness usually subsides in 3 to 4 hours.
Croup is a respiratory infection that causes the larynx and trachea
to narrow due to swelling. The larynx spasms and the victim experiences
difficult breathing, a harsh cough, hoarseness, tightness in the lungs,
and feelings of suffocation.
A trademark of croup is an abnormal noise that is made when air is
breathed in through the constricted windpipe over inflamed vocal cords.
This noise occurs in young children, since their airways are much
narrower than adults and often become clogged with mucus when accompanied
by an inflammation. Children with difficulty breathing should be admitted
to the hospital for x-rays of the larynx. At least, check
with the doctor. Oxygen and/or antibiotics may be needed.
Most children recover in a few days.
The dosages of this list is for children 6 years or
older, adjustment for under 6 years is needed. Vitamin
C, 500 mg. 4 times per day, (those
under age 4 should take 100 mg. 4 times
per day), helps control infection and fever by boosting the immune
system. Zinc lozenges, 5 mg. 3 times per
day for 3 days for those age 3 and up, promotes immune
function, and is necessary in healing. Vitamin A, 2,000
IU per day, is needed for healing of the mucous membranes.
Vitamin E, 50 mg. per day, helps destroy
free radicals and carries oxygen to all cells. Cod liver oil, 1
tbsp. twice per day in juice (use in place of vitamin
- Cardinal flower
- Echinacea, tincture
- Eucalyptus, oil
- Leek, wild
- Mustard, black
- Pine, white
- Snakeroot, Senega
- Virginia snakeroot
Eucalyptus oil from a health food store can be used in a vaporizer
to steam and inhale. Tincture of benzoin can be used the same way
in a vaporizer for steam inhalation.
Take very warm ginger herb baths, wrap in a heavy towel or blanket,
and go directly to bed to perspire. This helps loosen mucus and rid
the body of toxins.
Apply hot onion packs over the chest and back 3 times
per day. Slice onions and place between cloths, and then apply a heating
pad. The onion pack has a healing effect by opening the pores and
Humidification of the air by whatever means is available such as
vaporizers or steam. Antibiotics and corticosteroids are of no proven
benefit. If hypoxia (decreased oxygen) the oxygen face mask should
be used to supply oxygen to the patient.
Echinacea tincture should be taken if a fever is present. Put 15
drops of this herb in liquid every 3 to 4 hours.