If your child wakes up barking loudly do you need to bring them to the Emergency Room? Well, that's a very good question. Not all children need to be rushed to the ER for a croupy cough. You can try a couple of things at home first.
Ask yourself these things first
- Does my child have a high fever? ( check it rectally if they can not hold the thermometer in their mouth well, of course you are the parent and you know when your child has a temp. Go ahead and medicate them for fever, it will help with discomfort also.
- Does my child have any breathing trouble, like retractions (look at them with no shirt on, does it seem like they are sucking in hard to breath?
- Does my child have stridor-- a high pitched noise when they breath, not just the barky cough?
- Are you freaking out and just don't know what to do (its ok if you are, better to bring them in to be checked out than not)
- Turn on the shower water to hot--get the bathroom nice and steamy (of course don't put your child in the hot water) take your child in the bathroom and stay with them, help them to breath in the nice steamy air in the bathroom for around 5-10 min or so.
- Take them immediately outside into the cool nighttime air (its ok, you are not gonna make them sicker doing this--no matter what your grandma told you)
- The alternating of the steam and the cool air will most of the time help stop the bronchospasm-like coughing and help them calm down and settle back to sleep.
- Don't medicate your child with any sedating cough syrups, alcohols or home remedies. Cool mist vaporizers or humidifiers in their room is fine. I use the old Vicks vapor rub on their chest and feet remedy myself (unless they are infants)
- Call your peds doctor or advice line if you want more advice before traveling to the ER, they are a wealth of good information.
Croup is a condition that causes an inflammation of the upper airways — the voice box (larynx) and windpipe (trachea). It often leads to a barking cough or hoarseness, especially when a child cries.