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What is Croup?

Croup is referred to as, an infection of the upper airway and mostly occurs in children. This condition causes an obstruction in breathing resulting in an unbearable cough.


Coughing and other symptoms of croup are the result of inflammation around the vocal cords, the larynx, windpipe and the bronchial tubes. When pressure from coughing forces air through the narrowed passage, the vocal cords make a noise and your breathing will often result in a whistling sound. Croup is not a serious condition and can often be treated at home.



Symptoms of Croup


Croup generally starts with a typical cold. If there is too much inflammation in the throat, the child may have a bad cough. Breathing will also be a problem and mostly occurs at night when the child is sleeping. The child may breathe loudly and / or labored. Parents usually get worried when this happens and often rush their child to the hospital.


When to see a doctor

  • When the child makes noises at night and high-pitched breathing sounds;
  • Drools;
  • When the child has difficulty eating or drinking;
  • Feelings of tiredness;
  • The child breathes at a faster rate;
  • Child struggles to breathe;

Causes of Croup


Croup is mainly caused by a viral infection, most commonly Parainfluenza virus. A child can easily contract a virus by inhaling infected respiratory droplets coughed and when others sneeze into the air. Bacteria and any other viruses may also be living on toys and other surfaces, and if your child touches these things or puts the toy in their mouth, an infection may follow. The infections mostly occur first in the nasal membranes, and there afterward spreads to the vocal cords and windpipes. Children between 3 months and 6 years of age are at risk of developing croup.


Complications


Croup mostly occurs as a mild case. In a small percentage of these cases, the airway swells and interrupt breathing.



Tests and diagnosis of Croup


A doctor usually diagnoses croup, the doctor observes your child breathing, listens to the child’s chest with a stethoscope and checks the throat. Sometimes an x-ray may be done if the doctor cannot find the fault.



Treatment for Croup


If your child still has symptoms after 3 to 5 days or longer, your doctor may prescribe a steroid to reduce the inflammation in the airways.


Epinephrine is an effective medicine used to reduce inflammation in the airways, but the effects wear off fast. If the child is in a serious condition, your child may need to spend time in a hospital and a temporary breathing tube may need to be inserted in the kid’s windpipe.



Prevention of croup

  • Wash your hands often;
  • Keep your child away from anyone that is ill;
  • Recommend that your child cough or sneeze into their elbow;
  • Keep vaccinations up to date;
 

 

 

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