Croup is a childhood illness that involves a severe cough caused by the inflammation of the upper and lower respiratory tracts and there is swelling found around the larynx or the vocal cords and trachea. When a child coughs, air is forced through the narrowed passage. Croup usually affects children who are 5 years old or younger and it is caused by virus, bacteria, irritants and a mild cold. Some children can develop antibodies to the virus that causes the croup, but children with poor immune system have a high risk of acquiring the condition. Older children and teens can also develop croup. If you want to learn more about the condition and properly manage the condition, read here.
Types of croup
Viral croup is the common type of croup that is caused by parainfluenza virus or the HPIVs.
Spasmodic crop sometimes happens after a mild cold and it develops quickly without fever and usually recurs. Children with croup experiences symptoms like cold for a few days prior to the development of bark-like coughing, wheezing, hoarseness and strenuous breathing. Croup can last for a few days or even a week.
Croup in children can become worse and cause some complications like constriction of the airways, bronchitis or pneumonia. In severe cases, it can lead to a bacterial infection of the upper airways and needs medical care.
Teens that have not developed antibodies to the virus that causes croup and those with immune system that are compromised can develop a viral croup. Children exposed to the virus will only develop cold symptoms and some children develop croup when they have a viral infection of the upper respiratory system. Some children suffering from asthma and cerebral palsy are more susceptible to severe croup symptoms.
Treatment and home remedies
- Keep the child relaxed in order to make him/her breathe easier.
- Run hot water in the shower and let the child sit in the steamy bathroom. A humid bathroom makes it easier for a child to breathe and there are improvements in about ten minutes.
- Take the child outside and expose him/her to the evening cool air in order to minimize coughing and if it very cold outside, wrap the affected child in a blanket.
- Let the child sit in an upright position in the lap in order to help open the airways and for easy breathing. Let the child drink plenty of liquids to relax the throat.
- The person taking care of the affected child should sleep near the child so that he/she can give quick assistance whenever the child has another croup attack.
- Observe the child closely for any symptoms that gets worse and if the child has difficulty in breathing and develops stridor or a gasping sound when inhaling, seek medical help immediately.