Croup – What it is, Causes, Symptoms and Treatments!

Croup – What it is, Causes, Symptoms and Treatments  that we should not ignore. Furthermore, Croup  or laryngotracheobronchitis refers to an upper airway infection, which obstructs breathing and causes a characteristic local cough  . Cough and  other symptoms of  Croup  are the result of swelling around the vocal cords (larynx), trachea (windpipe), and bronchial tubes ( bronchi ).

When a cough  forces air through this narrow passage, the swollen vocal cords produce a noise similar to seal barking. Likewise, breathing often produces a high-pitched sound (stridor). Croup  usually occurs in younger children. Croup  is usually not serious and most cases can be treated at home.


Causes of Croup:  Croup  is usually caused by a virus infection, most often a parainfluenza virus. Your child can contract a virus by breathing in infected breathed droplets by coughing or sneezing into the air.

The virus particles in these droplets can also survive on toys and other surfaces. If your child touches a contaminated surface and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth, an infection could occur.

Symptoms of Croup:  Croup  often starts as a typical cold. If there is enough inflammation and coughing , a child will develop a loud cockroach cough . This is often worse at night, and is further exacerbated by crying and coughing , as well as anxiety and restlessness, setting a cycle of worsening symptoms. Fever anda hoarse voice are also common. Your child’s breathing may be noisy or labored.

As children have small airways, they are more likely to have more marked symptoms with croup , particularly children under 3 years of age. Croup  symptoms  usually last three to five days.

When to See a Doctor:  Approximately 5 percent of children seen in the emergency department for croup  require hospitalization. You should seek immediate medical attention if your child:

  • Makes loud, high-pitched sounding sounds (stridor) on both inspiration and exhalation
  • Starts drooling or has difficulty swallowing
  • Appears anxious and agitated or tired and listless
  • Breathe at a faster rate than usual
  • fight to breathe
  • Develops blue or gray skin around the nose, mouth, or nails (cyanosis)

Croup Risk Factors:  The greatest risks of getting croup  are children between 6 months and 3 years of age. The maximum incidence of the condition is around 24 months of age.

Croup Complications:  Most cases of croup  are mild. In a small percentage of cases, the airway invades enough to interfere with breathing.

Croup Diagnosis:  Croup  is usually diagnosed by the doctor by watching your child’s breathing, listening to your child’s chest with a stethoscope, and examining your child’s throat . Sometimes X-rays or other tests are used to rule out other possible illnesses.

Croup Treatments:  Most cases of croup  can be treated at home. However, croup  can be scary, especially if it drops your child in the doctor’s office, emergency room or hospital. Comforting your child and keeping him calm is important, because crying and fussing make airway obstruction worse. Hold your child, sing lullabies or read silent stories. Offer a favorite blanket or toy. Speak in a calming voice.

If your child’s symptoms persist beyond three to five days or get worse, your child’s doctor may prescribe a type of steroid (glucocorticoid) to reduce inflammation in the airways. The benefits will usually be felt within six hours. Dexamethasone is generally recommended because of its long-lasting effects (up to 72 hours).

Epinephrine is also effective in reducing airway inflammation. It is fast-acting, but its effects wear off quickly. For severe croup , your child may need to spend time in a hospital. In rare cases, a temporary breathing tube may need to be placed in the child’s windpipe.

Lifestyle:  Croup  often runs its course within three to five days. In the meantime, keep your child comfortable with a few simple steps:

  • Stay calm. Comfort or distract your child – cuddle, read a book or play a quiet game. Crying makes breathing more difficult.
  • Moisten the air. Although there is no evidence of benefits of this practice, many parents believe that the moist air helps the child to breathe. You can use a humidifier or sit with your child in a bathroom filled with steam generated by the hot water from the shower.
  • Keep your child in a comfortable upright position. Hold your child on your lap or place your child in a favorite chair or infant car seat. Sitting upright can make breathing easier.
  • Offer fluids. For babies, water, breast milk or formula is fine. For older children, soups or frozen fruit can be calming.
  • Encourage rest. Sleep can help your child fight the infection.
  • Try a fever reducer. If your child has a fever, over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) may help.
  • Skip cold meds. Over-the-counter cold preparations are not recommended for children under 2 years of age. Also, over-the -counter cough  medicines will not help croup .

Your child ‘s cough may improve during the day, but don’t be surprised if it returns at night. You may want to sleep close to your child or even in the same room so you can take quick action if your child’s symptoms become severe.

Croup Prevention:  To prevent Croup , do the same steps you use to prevent colds and flu . Frequent hand washing is most important. Also keep your child away from someone who is sick and encourage your child to cough or sneeze into their elbow.

Useful links: 

To avoid more serious infections, keep your child’s vaccinations up to date. Diphtheria and Haemophilus influenza type b vaccines offer protection against some of the rarest – but most dangerous – upper respiratory infections. There is still no vaccine that protects against parainfluenza viruses.

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