About croup

What is croup?

Croup is a common childhood illness that causes the upper respiratory tract to swell. This may manifest itself through a change in tone of voice and a distinctive "croupy" cough that sounds like a seal or barking. Numerous viruses have been identified as the cause of croup, with the parainfluenza virus being the most prevalent.Congestion of the nose, coughing, sore throat, and fever are all symptoms of infection. In children, upper airway swelling can manifest as a sore throat or, in more severe cases, as difficulty breathing in. When a child inhales, this type of breathing difficulty produces a high-pitched creaking or whistling sound (dubbed stridor) and a harsh cough resembling a seal's bark. This is in contrast to the wheezing that occurs when a child is attempting to expel air from the lungs. Wheezing is a symptom of asthma, a lung disorder; stridor is a symptom of croup, an upper airway disorder.



What are the symptoms for croup?

The symptoms of croup are typically more pronounced in children under the age of three. Children's respiratory system is smaller than the respiratory system of adults and therefore the children are at a higher risk of severe symptoms. Croup is characterised by the following symptoms: Sneezing and a Runny nose are common Cold symptoms, as are fever, barking cough, and hoarse speech. If your child's ability to breathe is threatened by croup, seek medical attention immediately. Consult your physician immediately if you experience any of the symptoms listed below:

When it becomes difficult to breathe, high-pitched sounds are produced.

When swallowing becomes difficult, the skin around the nose, mouth, and fingernails becomes blue or grey in colour.

Croup that lasts longer than a week, recurs frequently, or is associated with a Fever greater than 103.5 degrees should be evaluated by a physician. A physical examination is necessary to rule out bacterial infections or other more serious conditions.

Spasmodic Croup: Certain children develop a mild case of croup on a recurrent basis in conjunction with the common cold. This type of croup is characterised by a Barking Cough but does not include a fever.



What are the causes for croup?

Croup is most frequently caused by a virus, most frequently the parainfluenza virus. Younger children are more likely to be affected by the disease. Your child may inhale the virus sneezed or coughed in the open. Also, the virus may spread through the surfaces like toys. If the child touches the contaminated surface, and then he/she touches his eyes, nose, or mouth, he/she may contact the virus. Among the additional viruses capable of causing it is the following: Enteroviruses, Rhinoviruses, A and B Influenza Viruses, Respiratory Syncytial Virus.In extremely rare instances, croup can be caused by bacteria. Croup caused by this strain is frequently more severe than croup caused by viruses.To prevent the infection, you should follow basic hygiene like washing hands, and you should keep your children away from sick patients. Also while coughing, you should never cough in the open, but in your elbow to prevent the spread of the infection.



What are the treatments for croup?

It is possible to treat most kids with croup at home. Croup can still be scary, especially if your child is taken to the doctor, the emergency room, or the hospital. Treatment is usually based on how bad the symptoms are.Measures to make you feel better:To help your child breathe easier, you should comfort him or her and keep him or her calm. When you hold your child, you can sing lullabies or read them quiet stories to help them fall asleep so they can sleep. They could get a favourite blanket or toy. Do not speak too loud. Medication;If your child's symptoms don't go away after three to five days or get worse, a doctor might give them these medicines. The doctor may be able to give a type of steroid (glucocorticoid) to help lessen inflammation in the airways. When you do something good, you usually see the benefits for about an hour or two at the very least. A single dose of dexamethasone is usually the best thing to do because it has long-term effects that can help. This medicine is also good at reducing inflammation in the airways, and it can be given with a nebulizer to treat more severe symptoms. To be quick, it doesn't last very long. In most cases, your child will need to spend a few hours in the hospital before going home to see if they need another dose.

Hospitalization:For very bad croup, your child may need to stay in the hospital for a while so that they can be watched and get more help.Lifestyle modifications and at-home remedies:Croup usually goes away in three to five days.

Meanwhile, you can keep your child safe and comfortable by taking the following steps:

Keep your composure- Distract your child's attention by cuddling, reading a book, or playing a quiet game. You should prevent your child from crying as it may exacerbate the breathing difficulty.

Cool or humidify the air- While there is no evidence that these practices benefit children, many parents believe that humid or cool air helps their children breathe more easily. To provide moist air, use a humidifier or you can use steam as well. If the weather is nice outside, you can open a window and let your child breathe in some fresh air.

Maintain an upright position that is comfortable for your child - Carry your child or place him or her in a chair or infant seat that is comfortable for him or her. Maintaining an upright position may aid in breathing.

Fluids should be available-  Infants may be fed breast milk or formula. For older children, some comforting and hot meals like soup may help.

Recommend a period of rest- Sleep can bolster your child's immune system's ability to fight off infection.Consider a fever-reducing medication. If your child has a fever, non-prescription medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) may be beneficial.

Avoid anti-infective medications- Over-the-counter cold medications are not recommended for children of any age and can be dangerous for children under the age of two. Additionally, over-the-counter cough medications are ineffective against croup.



What are the risk factors for croup?

Children between 6 months and 3 years old are most likely to catch Croup. As children have small airways as compared to adults, they are more likely to have severe symptoms of croup.  The smaller airways exacerbate the symptoms.People who have a family history of the disease, live in a densely populated area, travel to or from developing countries, and don't have an influenza vaccine. Some people have very bad cases of croup. Most of the time, croup isn't very bad. It's hard to breathe in a small number of kids because their airways get big enough to make it hard. It's not always possible for the trachea to get infected with bacteria again. This can make it hard to breathe and need emergency medical help. Only a few kids end up in the hospital as an emergency case of croup.



Is there a cure/medications for croup?

Most people use dexamethasone to treat croup, but it's not the only medicine that can help. It is a glucocorticoid that lasts for a long time and is very good at what it does. Most of the time, it reduces the swelling of the larynx within six hours of taking the first dose, but it can take longer.A mist called epinephrine, which is also called adrenaline, is given to children who have moderate or severe croup. This medication makes the airways a lot less swollen. It also starts working a lot faster than dexamethasone. Less than two hours. There are people who need it every 15 to 20 minutes, and they should take it every few minutes for people who have a lot of pain. For example, if you start to feel bad again after two hours, you might need to see your doctor. Feeling "rebound" symptoms usually happens in the first two to four hours after a treatment, but it can happen at any time.A person who has croup can be treated with urgent care or in the emergency room, depending on how bad his or her breathing is, Parents may only need to give their child reassurance and guidance when their child only has a croupy cough. If the child is alert, has low respiratory distress and is getting enough oxygen, he or she may not need help from their parents. As the disease progresses, caregivers may only need to know what they can do to help their loved ones and how they can help their loved ones at home.People who are parents or caregivers can help most kids who have mild croup symptoms get better with their help. Using a humidifier to make a cool mist and sitting with the child in a bathroom filled with steam from the shower can help them feel better.



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