My oldest daughter has come down with croup-it’s the second time this winter. The first time she got it I wasn’t prepared. She’s never sick, then pre-K started in the fall and BOOM-we are all sick ALL. THE. TIME. So far we have been able to treat our illnesses naturally and haven’t gotten so sick that a doctor was necessary. My aim is to keep it this way! This post will give you an easy protocol in treating upper respiratory issues as well as croup. I had a go at making my own sore throat popsicles-I’ve included a relatively easy recipe that will taste yummy and fill little bellies with healing honey and essential oils. I also have added a recipe for cough drops! Fear not-in most cases croup can be remedied and cut off at the pass before it gets too serious!
First off, what is croup? According to the Mayo Clinic, “croup is an infection of the upper airway, generally in children, which obstruct breathing and causes a characteristic barking cough”
Croup usually is a result of a virus like the common cold. The croup itself is actually not contagious. Croup can be extremely scary for a child and the parent because it can interfere with a child’s ability to breath. My sweet nephew has battled croup since he was a baby. I remember when he would get croup in the summer and my sister in law would end up having to set with him in the car with the air conditioner all the way up-this could avoid taking him to the ER for breathing treatments. Luckily, the older a child gets, the less issue they have with croup. Children that have had RSV often suffer from croup more than a child that has not.
A few natural remedies for croup relief-
- Steam followed by cool air-If you don’t have a steamer use your bathroom-turn on the shower as hot as it goes, shut the door and set with your child, encouraging them to breath in the steamy air. After the steam, bundle them up and take them outside-if it’s warm you can always open the freezer and have them breath. whether it’s air conditioning, the freezer or winter air, it soothes the chest and opens the airways.
- Essential oils-My recipe for Homemade Vapor Rub is a soothing remedy that can be used to relieve congestion. Diffusing Marjoram is said to break up congestion. Using a blend of Rosemary, Lemon, Peppermint, Clove, Eucalyptus and Tea Tree can help decongest and soothe. I recommend diluting essential oils with a carrier oil like coconut oil or olive oil. You can rub their back and chest with this blend. I do not dilute when I apply to the feet. The feet are powerful and applying essential oils there can do wonders.
- Diffusers/Humidifiers- Diffusing essential oils can be an amazingly effective way to rid the body of croup. Dry air can wreak havoc on every function in the body. Humidifiers are an excellent way to infuse the air with moisture and soothe dryness. I do not use a humidifier-I don’t have a clear answer for this but every time I pull our’s out, we get worse then we were. I question whether we have mold somewhere in the house and the moisture activates it-Be aware of this. I do diffuse however. I prefer THIS diffuser. Diffusing Frankincense and Marjoram in your child’s room while they are sick goes a long way.
- Staying up right-Laying flat can cause the congestion to increase-Prop your child up with pillows even while they sleep.
- Honey-warm raw honey can do wonders for a scratchy throat. It will coat and soothe. Honey is antibacterial, anti viral and anti fungal. It contains antioxidants, nutrients, vitamins and enzymes. WARNING-babies 1 year and younger should not be given honey under any circumstances.
- Fever! I love talking about FEVER. As a young mom I can remember going into panic mode when my oldest got a fever. My husband would be spouting off about seizures and I would be terrified and confused as to how to proceed. FEVER IS OUR BODIES WAY OF FIGHTING OFF ILLNESS. Our bodies were wonderfully made-if we let them-they can heal themselves most of the time. A fever works by heating up our insides and making our bodies an unfavorable environment for foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria. Granted-fevers can get too high and there is cause for intervention, but for the most part, fevers are good and we should stand back and let it do it’s job. I am not a doctor so don’t take my word for it-do your research and use your intuition. Here are some awesome articles from a doctor that explains the benefits of fevers-HERE, HERE and HERE. In my opinion, put the Tylenol away and resist the urge to break the fever. Monitor your child’s temp by all means, but rejoice in the fact that that little body is working as it should! As a side note-while a child has a fever they should be very lethargic and not hungry. This is normal. The body shuts down when it is fighting. Don’t force them to eat, but encourage them to drink water. I wrote a more in-depth post on fevers HERE.
- Popsicles! Kids love popsicles! I made my own cough drops but in order to make hard candy your mixture must be boiled until the temp. reaches 300 degrees-that high temp negates most of the healing properties of essential oils and honey! So, I realized I could pack popsicles full of good stuff that my girls will readily slurp up!
- Homemade Cough Drops-Below are the ingredients in Halls Cough Drops.
Active Ingredient: Menthol 5.7 mg
Inactive Ingredients: caramel color, FD&C blue 1, FD&C red 40, FD&C yellow 5 (tartrazine), flavors, glucose syrup, glycerin, malic acid, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, potassium citrate, soy lecithin, sucrose, water
There’s a lot of YUCK in those. As I stated above-heating honey and essential oils to 300 degrees can greatly reduce their healing powers, but-having something to suck on can really soothe an achy throat. I made my own and they turned out AMAZING! I followed Gracious Rain’s recipe, but tweaked it a little-For nice, big pics and thorough instructions go HERE. Beware-there is A LOT of sugar in this recipe. Hey-if it soothes their throat and makes them happy, once in a while is OK!
Cinnamon Honey Cough Drops
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup honey
2 TBSP. butter
**Put 5-7 drops of Shield on your mixture once you’ve heated it to 300 degrees and poured it on a buttered cookie sheet or Sil-Pats. Once it cools just enough to thicken, fold in edges, being sure to mix in the essential oil. Work very quickly to stretch out in a long rope and cut small bite sized pieces. Let cool. Refer to this LINK for pics that explain this process better.**
Sore Throat Popsicles
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
1/2 cup Coconut Milk
1/2 cup Berries ( i use an assortment of organic blueberries, raspberries and strawberries)
1/4 cup Raw Honey or Manuka Honey
1. Blend all ingredients in blender
2. Pour mixture into molds and freeze. Find molds HERE.
FYI-I did not have molds so I took a chance on our local Walmart and had to get REAL creative. I ended up with weirdly shaped ice cube trays, plastic shot glasses and push up pops. If you end up like me and have a sick kiddo at home and are roaming the aisles of Walmart (in the winter, no less) you can find push up pops in the ice cream aisle and shot glasses with the soft drinks. Amazon has great molds, but if you need to make these ASAP-go to Walmart!
**DISCLAIMER** I am not qualified to give advice on medical issues. I am writing from my own experience and research. I am very slow to take my children to the doctor or put them on antibiotics but I am not suggesting you do the same. Every parent knows best for their own child.