Guide to Croup Cough: Symptoms, Treatment, and More

Guide to Croup Cough: Symptoms, Treatment, and More

Chiropractic Virgina Beach VA Baby With Colic

Croup is a respiratory infection that affects the upper airway and results in a distinctive barking cough. Typically, it is prevalent among children aged between 6 months to 3 years, and infants who are born prematurely or suffer from respiratory and immune challenges like asthma. There are three primary types of croup: viral croup, spasmodic croup, and croup with stridor. The symptoms of croup are noticeable and can begin with a common cold or teething, progressing to include a loud, barking cough, crying, fever, hoarse voice, labored breathing with a high-pitched or squeaking noise (stridor), fast breathing, retractions, blueish skin around the mouth due to a lack of oxygen, and laryngitis. Parents may find croup challenging as the symptoms usually get worse at night.

Diagnosing croup is a simple and straightforward process. A healthcare professional will observe the child's breathing, examine their throat and upper airway for inflammation, and listen with a stethoscope. If breathing is labored, they may use pulse oximetry to check oxygen levels and order a neck and/or chest x-ray.

Croup is often caused by a cold that continues to worsen, irritate the airway, and ramp up inflammation. However, we approach the cause of respiratory illnesses in a different way than the medical system. We look first at factors that could be lessening a child's resilience and stressing out their nervous and immune systems. Common case history findings that can stress out the neuro-immune system and leave a child susceptible to colds and croup include distress during the fertility process and pregnancy, birth intervention and trauma, difficulty latching, nursing, and breastfeeding, colic and difficulty sleeping, digestive challenges, and developmental delays.

Additionally, three common life findings tend to accompany the onset of common colds and croup in kids: growth spurts, teething, and seasonal changes. These changes can place extra stress and fatigue on the system, especially the nervous system and muscles, bring extra stress through added pain, trouble sleeping, and increased fluid congestion in the upper respiratory area, and stress out a young child's immune system, respectively.

It's possible to help your child rest, recover and get better without relying on drugs and medication when they're struggling with respiratory or immune challenges such as croup. The first step is to focus on ensuring they get enough rest and fluids. When a child is dealing with a cold or croup, their body naturally prioritizes resources to fight off and clear the infection, which means reducing activity and increasing rest.

One of the most important things to do is to ensure your child is well-rested and hydrated. If they become extremely lethargic and at risk of dehydration, seeking medical intervention may be necessary. At home, you can keep your child calm and comfortable, and add a humidifier to the room or take them to the bathroom and let the shower run to make the air more humid and moist.

To help reduce swelling and inflammation while hydrating the airway, alternate between warm and humid air and cold air, wrapping your child in blankets and going outside or to another room for 5-10 minutes. There are also natural options available to parents, including essential oils, vitamins and supplements, and whole foods.

Fortunately, since croup is mostly caused by viruses, antibiotics are not recommended as a treatment option. Although not all medical practitioners follow this guideline, it is important to note that antibiotics can have numerous short and long-term side effects. The typical medical treatment for croup includes administering fever reducers and corticosteroids if symptoms persist for 3-5 days or more. In some cases, epinephrine (adrenaline) may also be used to reduce swelling. While most children recover from croup without any severe complications or long-term effects, it is crucial to seek medical attention if your child experiences extreme difficulty in breathing and is unable to speak or walk, shows signs of respiratory distress such as retraction when breathing or turns pale or bluish around the mouth, or becomes too fatigued to drink fluids.

Chiropractic care is not intended to treat or cure croup, or any other illness for that matter. Its purpose is to enhance the body's natural defenses against stress and disease, rather than replacing them.

Chiropractors who specialize in treating children and families concentrate on subluxation, which happens when the nervous system is under excessive stress from various factors like physical trauma, chemicals, toxins, mental and emotional stress, causing dysautonomia.

Parents have reported the following improvements in their children's respiratory illnesses after chiropractic adjustments:

  • Easier mucus and congestion drainage
  • Improved sleep and relaxation
  • Shorter illness duration
  • Reduced use of prescription and OTC medications.

Neurologically-focused chiropractic adjustments work by restoring balance to the central and autonomic nervous systems, which regulates all other major systems in the body, including the immune system. This approach forms a foundation of care for families who aim to improve their children's health without the use of medications.

Subluxation can lead to a sustained and excessive sympathetic fight-or-flight tone (dysautonomia), causing several physiological responses, including increased constriction and restriction on the muscles of the airway, respiratory system, lymphatics, etc., increased inflammation, increased mucus production, and decreased digestive motility, elimination, and detoxification.

Pediatric chiropractic care's primary goal is to ensure that children are not subluxated and stuck in a sympathetic dominance state. The parasympathetic and vagus nerve side of the nervous system plays a crucial role in maintaining optimal health and function.

If you do not have a pediatric chiropractor on your child's healthcare team, we are trained and ready to help you enhance your child's natural defenses against stress and disease.


10:00am - 1:00pm
3:00pm - 6:00pm

10:00am - 1:00pm
3:00pm - 6:00pm

3:00pm - 6:00pm

10:00am - 1:00pm
3:00pm - 6:00pm


Saturday & Sunday

Vanella Chiropractic

4661 Haygood Rd #110
Virginia Beach, VA 23455

(757) 982-8989