Croup in children: what to know about it
1) What’s croup ?
Croup is caused by any number of viral infections. It starts with cold symptoms that progress to a barking cough. Symptoms usually get worse as night falls.
It usually lasts about three to four days and responds well to medical treatments that can help the disease to clear more quickly. Consult your doctor immediately if your child is suffering while breathing, when sleeping.
This disease in children is caused by a viral infection that ignites the voice box and trachea lining. This inflammation reduces their airways, making breathing more difficult. They usually have special difficulties breathing. It usually affects children under five years old.
2) Signs and symptoms of croup
Children with croup usually make a sound of barking or singing when they breathe. You may also notice the following symptoms in your child:
- They can have a hoarse voice.
- You may notice that they have to work hard to breathe or breathe more quickly.
- Sometimes they will wake up in trouble during the night.
- You may notice that tissues between the ribs “sink” while they breathe.
- Children with croup sometimes have a mild fever. Remember that croup usually gets worse as night falls.
3) Spread of infection and complications
- Croup occurs more often in younger children, and is partly due to the age and size of the child. The same virus could cause croup in one child but not in another.
- Unfortunately, as with the usual cough and cold, it is not possible to avoid the viruses that cause this condition.
- Generally, complications are rarely observed early. An untreated severe croup was occasionally fatal before and necessitated an operation to open the air duct. But nowadays, with moderate treatment, this is rarely necessary.
There is no way to prevent croup. If your child has a history, it will eventually come out, because it is partly related to the small size of the respiratory tract of a young child.
There are things you can do to help a child with the disease.
- Look for perhaps the most comfortable position for them.
- Make sure they receive adequate fluids.
- If you and your child are relaxed, it is likely that the croup will calm down. In this case, it can be managed at home. But, remember, it will get worse as night falls.
Children who are afflicted because of their breathing need to see a doctor as soon as possible. And especially if you notice the following signs:
- fast breathing speed
- Too much effort to breathe
- a sudden movement between the chest and the abdomen
- aspiration of chest wall tissue between the ribs
- baby with blue lips and doze.
ANY child who appears to be short, or fight to breathe when they are resting should receive an urgent medical assessment.