What Is Croup?
Croup is a
viral condition that causes swelling around the vocal cords.
characterized by breathing difficulties and a bad cough that sounds like a
barking seal. Many of the viruses responsible for croup also cause the common
cold. Most active in the fall and winter months, croup usually targets children
under the age of 5.
What Causes Croup?
several viruses that can cause croup. Many cases come from parainfluenza
viruses (the common cold). Other viruses that may cause croup include
adenovirus (another group of common cold viruses), respiratory syncytial virus
(RSV), the most common germ affecting young children, and measles. Croup may
also be caused by allergies, exposure to inhaled irritants, or bacterial
infections. But these are rare.
What Are the Symptoms of
tend to be most severe in children under the age of 3. This is because a
child’s respiratory system is smaller than an adult’s. Symptoms that are common
in most cases of croup include:
symptoms like sneezing and runny nose
medical attention is required if croup threatens your child’s ability to
breath. Contact your doctor as soon as possible if you notice symptoms like:
sounds when breathing
or gray skin coloring around the nose, mouth, and fingernails
persists longer than one week, reoccurs frequently, or is accompanied by a
fever higher than 103.5 degrees, should be brought to a doctor’s attention. An
examination is needed to rule out bacterial infections or other more serious
children suffer from a recurring, mild case of croup that appears along with
the common cold. This type of croup features a barking cough, but doesn’t
include a fever often seen with other cases of croup.
generally diagnosed during a physical exam.
will likely listen to the cough, observe breathing, and ask for a description
of symptoms. Even when an office visit is not necessary, doctors and nurses may
diagnose croup by attentively listening to the characteristic cough over the
phone. If croup symptoms are persistent, your doctor may order a throat exam or
X-ray to rule out other respiratory conditions.
of croup are effectively treated at home. Doctors and nurses can easily monitor
a child’s progress by talking to parents over the phone. Cool mist humidifiers
may help your child breathe easier as they sleep.
pain relievers can soothe discomfort in the throat, chest, or head. Cough medicines
should only be administered upon advice from a medical professional.
child is having problems breathing, an emergency visit to a hospital or clinic
is warranted. Doctors may choose to use steroid medications to open your
child’s airways, allowing easier breathing. These may be prescribed for
extended use at home. In extreme cases, a breathing tube may be used to help
your child get enough oxygen. If it’s determined that a bacterial infection is
responsible for croup, antibiotics will be administered in the hospital and
prescribed for later use. Dehydrated patients may require intravenous fluids.
What to Expect in the Long
is caused by a virus usually goes away on its own within one week.
croup may require antibiotic treatment. The duration of the antibiotic therapy
will depend on the severity of the infection. Life-threatening complications aren’t
common, but are dangerous when they do occur. Since the complications usually
involve difficulty breathing, it’s important that caretakers who observe
alarming symptoms have the patient immediately treated.
of croup are caused by the same viruses that cause the common cold or
influenza. Prevention strategies are similar for all these viruses. They
include frequent hand-washing, keeping hands and objects out of the mouth, and
avoiding people who are not feeling well.
Some of the
most serious cases of croup are caused by conditions such as measles. To avoid dangerous
ailments such as this, parents should keep their children on schedule for