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Croup




Definition

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.


Causes

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.


Symptoms

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.


Nutrients

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 A).


Herbs

  • TB
    • Bloodroot
    • Cardinal flower
    • Chamomile
    • Comfrey
    • Echinacea, tincture
    • Eucalyptus, oil
    • Fenugreek
    • Ginger
    • Goldenseal
    • Horehound
    • Jack-in-the-pulpit
    • Leek, wild
    • Lobelia
    • Mullein
    • Mustard, black
    • Onion
    • Pine, white
    • Snakeroot, Senega
    • Spicebush
    • Sticta
    • Thyme
    • Virginia snakeroot


    Recommendations

    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 relieving congestion.


    Suggestions

    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.

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