CROUP

  • A common respiratory problem in young kids that tends to occur in the fall and winter.
    • The main symptom is a harsh, barking cough.
    • Croup causes swelling and narrowing in the voice box, windpipe, and breathing tubes that lead to the lungs.
      • Would lead to difficulty in breathing.
    • An attack of croup can be scary, but it is rarely serious. Children usually get better in several days with rest and care at home.
  • Usually occurs a few days after the start of a cold and is typically caused by the same viruses that cause the common cold.
  • The disease is contagious and can be passed from one person to another through coughing and sneezing and through close contact.
    • Regular hand-washing and limiting contact with others is key for prevention.
  • As children age and their airways and lungs mature, they are less likely to get croup.
    • A yearly flu vaccine may prevent some of the viruses that can lead to croup.

Symptoms of croup are caused by narrowed airways. They may include:

  • A barking cough, typically compared to the sound of a barking seal.
  • A raspy, hoarse voice.
  • A harsh, crowing noise when breathing in.
    • Children manage by quickly breathing and sitting upright to help breath better.

Symptoms of croup often improve during the day and get worse at night. Sometimes children have croup attacks that wake them up in the middle of the night for a couple of nights in a row. Unless the illness is severe, a child with croup is usually alert and active. The child’s temperature is usually normal or only slightly higher than normal.

The illness usually improves in 2 to 5 days.

 

DIAGNOSIS

Physician may do/request:

  • History & Physical Exam

 

RECOMMENDED MEDICATIONS

  • During an attack, stay calm and keep your child relaxed to prevent him/her having difficulty in breathing.
  • Create steam by running a hot shower. Do NOT put child in the hot shower. Let the bathroom fill with steam. Have the child breathe in the moist air for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Breathing cool night air also seems to help sometimes.
    • If symptoms improve with these methods, put child back in bed. If the symptoms happen during the middle of the night, it is a good idea to sleep in or near the child’s room until morning.
  • Be sure to keep child well hydrated. Offer water, flavored ice pops (such as Popsicles), or crushed-ice drinks several times each hour.
  • Do not let anyone smoke around child or in the house.
  • Do not give child over-the-counter cough or cold medicines.
    • They do not help with the disease and may be dangerous for child.
  • If symptoms do not get better after 30 mins, call the doctor or proceed to the emergency room.

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