Anything for the kids! When they are happy, I am overjoyed; but when they are ailing, my heart breaks. I hate it when they are sick as I feel so helpless. You can call the doctor, sure, but after that you are on your own. You just have to watch and wait.

Recently, my youngest came down with a barking cough of croup and I was pretty scared. Even common problems make you think twice. You don’t want to envision the worst so you take whatever action you can. My home remedy, apart from loads of TLC, was a room humidifier.

Kids get croup. It is a fact of life. It strikes once, and then it can strike again—sometimes in a different child. If you are new to the subject of kid health, croup causes upper airways inflammation: the voice box and the trachea, or windpipe. The child afflicted has a barking cough and hoarseness, which is aggravated if he or she cries. Apparently the condition is caused by a virus such as parainfluenza or respiratory syncytial virus. But enough of science, it is a common childhood ailment of the very young.

Humidifiers can sooth an upper respiratory infection and make the child more comfortable. You will notice that the barking cough usually starts at night and it can be spasmodic. So you will want to run the machine during sleep hours as well as the daytime. If you have an adjustable mist model, so much the better. The more control you have, the greater the results.

Your child may show cold symptoms at first such as a runny nose, or even a fever. But croup is worse. The lining of the windpipe and voice box become inflamed and swollen. The cough that ensues is rather loud so you can’t miss it. Some people describe it as akin to the barking of a seal. Yikes. My child’s case was just short of animal-like intensity. His breathing was a bit labored, so watch for a high-pitched or squeaking sound as your child inhales.

I found that the humidifier intensely helped this problem. I am glad I bought a top-of-the-line model as a result. You can’t spend enough when it comes to children’s health. My kid stopped breathing quite loudly so fast and seemed to be getting more oxygen. As mentioned, the condition worsens at night and it can also become exacerbated and reach the bronchi of the lungs.

Even if you have not encountered croup in the family, having a humidifier in the closet is comforting. It can be pulled out on a moment’s notice. You can buy them in hardware and appliance stores or easily online. The Internet will no doubt yield more choices and discount prices. Read the descriptions carefully as well as the reviews. You can’t spend too much time.

The best treatment for mild croup is to have the child breathe in moist air and take ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Rest and fluids are required. A cool mist humidifier is the best model for the condition.

You can put it in the room or a bathroom for a steam-filled environment when coughing becomes severe. Some people take the child outdoors if the weather is cool and mild. Be mindful of airway blockage and keep in touch with the pediatrician.