Croup

croup disease

Last Updated February 2nd, 2020

What is Croup?

Croup is an upper Respiratory Infection which mainly occurs in children below 5 years old. It is a viral infection which causes swelling around the voice box (larynx), windpipe (trachea) and bronchial tubes (bronchi). It obstructs the normal breathing and results in a barking cough.

While coughing, as the air is forced up through the passageway which has narrowed due to the swollen voicebox or larynx, it produces a sound which is similar to a  barking seal. Croup is not a very serious condition and can be treated at home as well. There  are mainly 3 types of croups:

– Mild Croup
– Moderate Croup
– Severe Croup
 

What are the causes of Croup?

croup infectionThere are several viruses which are responsible for causing croup. The most common among all is the Parainfluenza Virus. There are many other viruses which can cause Croup, namely Adenovirus (another group of common cold viruses), Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).

  • Exposure to various allergens can also cause Croup.
  • Inhalation of irritants and bacterial infections can also be the reasons for Croup.

What are the symptoms and the signs related to the condition of Croup?

There are various signs and symptoms associated with the condition od Croup. Some of the most common symptoms are as listed below:

  • Barking sound like a seal while coughing. It is further provoked by crying and coughing.
  • It can set a cycle worsening signs and symptoms such as anxiety and frequent agitation.
  • Fever with a temperature of more than 103 degrees.
  • A hoarse voice in your kid
  • A noisy and heavy breathing
  • Symptoms of cold and flu are very common
  • Difficulty while swallowing
  • The appearance of blue or grey colouring around the nose, mouth and fingernails
  • Restlessness and nervousness especially  at night
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes
  • Red rashes on the skin
  • Redness of the eyes
  • An irregular pattern of the heartbeat
  • Dry lips or tongue signifying dehydration

What are the complications related to  Croup?

There are  several complications related to Croup:

  • The swelling of the airway which interferes with the breathing
  • Difficulties in swallowing
  • A secondary trachea infection can occur
  • Swelling of the voice box or the larynx

When does your kid medical attention for Croup?

If your kid had been experiencing any conditions as discussed below, it is very necessary for your kid to undergo the diagnosis for the Croup.

  • If your kid makes a high pitched sound while breathing,i.e. both while inhaling as well as exhaling, he or she should be provided with medical attention.
  • Seal like barking sound while coughing is experienced in the condition of Croup. Your kid needs medical attention if he or she had been experiencing anything as such.
  • Frequent drooling of your kid can signify difficulty in swallowing. This condition demands medical attention to your kid.
  • If your kid looks fatigued all the time and is getting anxious very often, he or she might need to undergo the diagnosis of Croup
  • The diagnosis for Croup is very important if your kid is experiencing the symptoms and signs for the Croup as mentioned above.

What are the procedures of diagnosis for the condition of Croup?

The diagnosis of the croup is very simple. The doctor or the health practitioner can easily determine Croup by listening to the kind of coughing and the sound associated with it. In certain cases, the doctor might suggest an X-Ray to rule out any other kind of throat or respiratory infections and diseases.

What are the treatments available for Croup?

The treatment for the Croup totally depends on the severity of the signs and the symptoms. The mild Croup can be easily treated at home itself. Some of the common ways of treating mild Croup at home are as follows:

  • Your kid has to inhale the mist from the humidifier or has to inhale the steam produced by the running hot water from the shower in the bathroom.
  • Allow your kid to inhale the cool air during the night by opening a door or window
  • OTC(Over The Counter) medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen should be given to your children for treating the fever.
  • The coughing can be easily treated by using warm water since it loosens the mucus in the vocal cord or larynx.
  • Prop up your kid’s head using extra pillows while he or she is sleeping. This should be avoided if your kid is lesser than 12 months or 1 year old.
  • Oral syrups containing glucocorticoids are dexamethasone and prednisolone are given to your kid.
  • Intravenous (IV) or Intramuscular (IM) injections containing Dexamethasone are also used in the case of the treatments for the kids who are frequently vomiting and can’t keep liquids down.
  • Glucocorticoids are used for decreasing the swelling of the larynx.

Moderate to Severe Croup is monitored usually in an emergency department or clinic which specialize in the evaluation of various respiratory diseases and infections. 

Some of the  most common ways of  treating moderate and severe Croup are:

  • Humidifying of the air that is being breathed in by your kid is very necessary.
  • In the case of dehydration in your child due to fever or fast-paced breathing, IV(Intravenous) fluids are used for treating it.
  • Constant monitoring of oxygen levels, heart rate, skin colour is needed. And the level of the alertness is also evaluated to understand the status of the child i.e. whether your kid is responding to the treatment or not.
  • A breathing tube is placed in the throat of your kid in the case of severe Croup. Less than 1% of children are seen in the emergency department require this treatment.
  • The most commonly used medication for the treatment of moderate and severe Croup consists of Dexamethasone. It provides a long-lasting treatment. It reduces the swelling of the larynx within 6 hours. It can also be used as oral syrup as well as an IV(Intravenous) or Intramuscular(IM) injection. 
  • A nebulizer is used for giving epinephrine(also known as adrenaline) to your kid if he or she is suffering from moderate or severe Croup. It works for a very short period and can be given every 15 minutes to 20 minutes to your kid in the case of severe symptoms.

What are the other therapies available for the Croup?

There are various other therapies or treatments which are used for treating the Croup. Some of the most common of them are as follows:

  • Intake  of antibiotics 
  • Medicines for common flu, cough and cold
  • Decongestants and sedatives are not that highly recommended in the case of kids.

What are the preventive measures taken for Croup?

There are a few steps which are adopted as the preventive measures for Croup. Some of the most common preventative measures which are used are as follows:

  • Personal hygiene matters a lot. Hands should be very thoroughly washed with soap and water.
  • Alcohol-based hand rubs are very often used for disinfecting the hands.
  • Avoid taking your kid near to people who are infected with various respiratory diseases and infections.
  • Some of the rarest and most dangerous upper airway infections can be easily treated using the Diphtheria and Haemophilus Influenza Type B(HIB) vaccinations.

 

 

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