Symptoms, causes and treatment of croup.

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If you are a parent, you have probably been thrown out of bed at least once because of a barking cough from croup. Croup is a generic term for childhood inflammation and swelling of the throat area, including the vocal cords.

This swelling blocks the flow of air through the windpipe and causes a cough very similar to a cough. Sometimes it makes sense to take your child to the doctor, but it probably won't. In most cases, croup is usually light and goes away on its own.

Get Medical Information / Laura Porter

Symptoms

There are only two symptoms of croup:

  • Dog cough
  • Stridor

Stridor is a high-pitched sound that is combined with breathing. This is due to swelling of the upper airways near the vocal cords. In severe cases with very pronounced stridor (which is very rare), the patient may experience shortness of breath.

Causes

In the United States, about 3% of children get croup each year. It is most common in children between the ages of six months and three years. This is usually caused by one of several viruses, but 75% of all cases are caused by the parainfluenza virus; however , not all children who become infected with these viruses will develop croup; some will simply have cold symptoms.

Also, bacteria can cause croup, but it is much less common. And since croup is most likely caused by a virus, antibiotics won't help. You just have to continue as usual.

Diagnostics

Croup is diagnosed by a doctor who performs a complete medical history and physical exam. No croup test. Instead, the doctor may run other tests to see if the child's symptoms may be related to some other respiratory condition. This is called a diagnosis of exclusion because croup is what remains when all other causes of barking cough have been ruled out .

Crunchy coughs and stridor can also occur from objects stuck in your child's airways or from severe allergic reactions. Coins, erasers, balls, legos and other small items were found in the airways of healthy children who came to the emergency room.

Watch out

However, there are several home remedies that can help ease your child's symptoms. However, keep in mind that most of them don't have much scientific evidence to support their use.

Breathe moist air

Many health professionals recommend exposing your child to humid or humid air , such as breathing saturated air from a hot shower or opening windows on a cool night. But there is no evidence that humid air really helps. (If showering is too uncomfortable or difficult, try a humidifier.)

Drink much liquid

Doctors also often advise patients with any form of viral infection to squeeze out fluid. Hydration can help the body fight infection. However, studies have found little evidence to support this advice, and some evidence suggests that increasing your fluid intake may actually be harmful .

When to see a doctor

Every time a child develops stridor, they should see a doctor. Many cases of mild croup in children can be safely treated at home with supportive care. Until children get worse, they will eventually get better .

If your child has a barking cough for more than three days, or if his croup causes severe discomfort, the doctor may prescribe steroids or inhale epinephrine to relieve the swelling.

Emergency symptoms

Croup can sometimes cause dangerous swelling of the throat and windpipe. In such cases, call 911 or go directly to the emergency room. Take your child to the doctor or call 911 if they also have any of the following symptoms:

And if a barking child begins to itch or complain of itching, redness, or hives, call emergency services immediately.

Get the word of drug information

Croup is an extremely common condition, but it's not the only thing that can cause a barking cough. The bottom line is that if you are worried about your child and are not sure whether to go to the doctor, take him or her. Trust your instincts. When it comes to our children, our intuition is often correct.

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