As a parent, it is dreadful to see our kids suffering from any diseases. From the common flu to an incurable disease, it’s not easy to see our kids on different kinds of medications or worse, surgeries. In this blog article, I shall help you understand Croup and how to manage it.
What is Croup?
15 percent of emergency department visits in the United States are caused by many types of respiratory diseases in children. One of the common illnesses that are responsible for that percentage is Croup.
Croup is an infection of a child’s upper airway. When this happens, your child will have a hard time breathing which can cause a distinctive barking cough. Cough happens as a result of swelling around your child’s voice box, windpipe, and bronchial tubes.
Typically, croup isn’t that serious and can be treated at home. However, if left untreated, it may cause serious consequences to your child. Croup is also contagious so make sure you quarantine your child to prevent it from spreading to other people.
Croup is more rampant in boys than in girls. Kids who usually acquire croup is between six and 36 months old and peaks when they reach 2 years old. It may occur occasionally in teenagers and young adolescents and almost never in adults. Croup peaks usually during the fall season and throughout the early winter months.
Symptoms of Croup
Some parents might confuse croup with the normal flu because it usually starts as a common cold. But, if there is inflammation and persistent, loud cough, it will progress into:
- Fever that can reach (100 F – 103 F)
- A hoarse voice
- Labored breathing
- Barking seal-like cough which can cause anxiety and agitation
Manifestations of croup will vary from mild (common) to life-threatening (rare). The severity of croup will depend on how narrow your child’s airway is. The more narrow it is, the more effort your child has to put in order to breathe. Facial cyanosis (bluish skin discoloration) may develop but not always. Immediate paramedic evaluation and should be rushed to the emergency room should happen right away once your child experiences apparent exhaustion and decreased respiratory effort. These two rare symptoms are indications of impending respiratory failure.
Causes of Croup
The most common cause of croup is a viral infection. On most cases, a parainfluenza virus. Because it’s contagious, your child may have been infected by breathing infected droplets coughed or sneezed into the air. These infected droplets can also survive on different materials such as toys and other surfaces. An infection will occur right away if your child has touched a contaminated surface and then touches his/her eyes, nose, or mouth. However, symptoms will start to develop and show within two to three days.
Treatments of Croup
Prevention is always better than cure. Some preventive measures can be taught to your child such as:
- Frequent hand-washing
- Teach your child to stay away from people who are sick
- Encourage your child to cover his or her mouth when coughing
If your child experiences more alarming symptoms, he or she is required to undergo appropriate antibiotic therapy.
- Steroid therapy
- Oral prednisolone
Remedies for Croup
Children need constant monitoring because they’re too young to realize if they’re breathing or not. Keep comforting and reassuring your child that he or she is going to be fine.
- Install a cool or warm mist vaporizer near your child. The humidified air will help reduce vocal cord swelling which can help lessen the symptoms.
- Instill a few saltwater nose drops made from ¼ teaspoon of table salt in 1 cup of water into your child’s nasal openings every few hours. Follow right away a gentle suction using a bulb syringe.
- According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, as much as possible, do not let your children drink a combination of cough and cold medicines. Several studies have shown that this method is ineffective and its side effects could lead to more serious symptoms.
Please take note that the usual cause of croup is a virus. Antibiotics shall only be used on rare occasions when croup is caused by a bacterial infection.
When To See A Doctor
Once you see any symptoms and you suspect that your child may have croup, seek medical help immediately. It’s not life-threatening, though. However, it will really depend on your child’s capability to breathe properly.
Choosing a pediatric care center is crucial. You have to choose a pediatrician who cares well for his patients – who treats the kids like his own. For further questions contact us at Pediatric California Associates. To set an appointment, you may call (559) 728-4133 (Fresno office) or (559) 673-6085 (Madera office).