Croup is a common ailment mostly evidenced in children. It is caused due to the infected upper airway, which hinders free breathing. The individuals suffering with croup disease tend to cough in a loud barking like manner.
This condition is not life threatening nor serious. Most times, treatment can be done with the help of simple home remedies. Croup is more common to present itself in children below three years of age.
Causes Of Croup
The infection of the upper airway is usually caused due to the inflammation around the larynx or vocal cords, trachea and bronchial tubes. This inflammation is caused by the infection from parainfluenza virus species.
- When the air due to coughing is forcefully pushed into the narrow passage, vocal cords that are already swollen and irritated produce a barking like noise.
- Sounds are heard while inhaling and exhaling, due to the swollen glands.
- Infection is caused due to touching contaminated surfaces or inhaling air filled with infected virus
- Infection usually starts from nasal membranes and gradually spreads to larynx and windpipe.
Signs And Symptoms Of Croup
Below are some important symptoms to watch out for, as it would be difficult to differentiate croup from common cold at the start.
- Loud barking cough while having cold
- Cough that aggravates by night
- Hoarse Voice
- Noisy and heavy breathing, breathing with great difficulty
- Long lasting symptoms of cold that do not reduce even after five days of the onset
The below symptoms are cited at more mature stage of croup and have to be reported immediately:
- Loud pitched breathing sounds
- Difficulty swallowing
- Extreme anxiety and agitation due to persistent loud cough
- Faster rate of breathing
- Onset of cyanosis – blue to grey colored finger nails and skin around nose and mouth
Croup is diagnosed by way of observing the breathing pattern of the child. X rays and other tests will be recommended to probe any other secondary ailments.
Treatment For Croup
Usually, home remedies are the best option to control croup to proceed to advanced stages. In cases of worsening condition, doctors will treat the patient with a glucocorticoid steroid to lessen inflammation. Dexamethasone is also given to bring in long term relief. Some doctors also prescribe and administer epinephrine. In the most serious cases, hospitalization would be necessary.
Alternative And Home Remedies For Croup
Apart from the routine prognosis and treatment, care and comfort with simple home remedies should bring in instant results in the health of an infected child.
- Filling the room with humid air using a humidifier is a time tested technique to ease the troubled breathing
- Sitting upright or lying down on inclined pillows should help in breathing easily
- Children with croup should be kept hydrated with fluids like water, juices, electrolytes etc. Mother’s breast milk is ideal for babies.
- Plenty of rest and panic free environment should speed up recovery period for croup
Prevention Of Croup
Haemophilus influenza type B and diphtheria vaccines are said to protect children from upper airway related ailments. Taking precautionary measures like staying away from contaminated air and surroundings is the best prevention of all.
1. Safety and immunogenicity of an intranasal Sendai virus-based parainfluenza virus type 1 vaccine in 3-6 year old children. Adderson E, Branum K, Sealy RE, Jones BG, Surman SL, Penkert R, Freiden P, Slobod KS, Gaur AH, Hayden RT, Allison K, Howlett N, Utech J, Allay J, Knight J, Sleep S, Meagher M, Russell CJ, Portner A, Hurwitz JL. Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2014 Dec 31. pii: CVI.00618-14. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:25552633
2. Unexpected and severe postintubation croup after a very short day surgery in a pediatric patient: a case report. Kim HJ, Son JD, Kwak KH. Korean J Anesthesiol. 2014 Oct;67(4):287-9. doi: 10.4097/kjae.2014.67.4.287. Epub 2014 Oct 27. PMID:25368790
3. Croup. Johnson DW. Clin Evid (Online). 2014 Sep 29;2014. pii: 0321. PMID:25263284
4. What is chronic cough in children? Ioan I, Poussel M, Coutier L, Plevkova J, Poliacek I, Bolser DC, Davenport PW, Derelle J, Hanacek J, Tatar M, Marchal F, Schweitzer C, Fontana G, Varechova S. Front Physiol. 2014 Aug 28;5:322. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2014.00322. eCollection 2014. Review. PMID:25221517