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Barking Cough

Barking Cough

Commonly referred to as barking cough, croup is a dry, harsh cough that occurs due to the inflammation around the vocal cords, windpipe, and bronchi. This HealthHearty article provides information about this condition.
HealthHearty Staff
Croup, which is also called residual dry cough or barking cough, occurs due to inflammation in the upper parts of the larynx and trachea. This condition mostly affects children below the age of 5 years. However, it could sometimes affect adults.
Croup is mostly observed in children who are affected by cold. Children experience nasal congestion, runny nose, fever, etc. Once the lining of the windpipe and the voice box get inflamed, the child's voice becomes hoarse. The characteristic symptom of this condition is cough that is compared to the sound of a barking seal. Due to the inflammation of the upper airway, the child finds it difficult to breathe. He/she might breathe rapidly. Also, he/she is likely to experience coughing at night, which is accompanied by noisy, harsh breathing and stridor (high-pitched noise during inhalation). In some cases, the inflammation could affect the bronchial tubes.
Contributing Factors
Cough is usually caused due to a viral infection. The causal agents include:
Parainfluenza virus
Adenovirus
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
The causal pathogen could become airborne when the affected person coughs or sneezes. Inhalation of respiratory secretions could cause the transmission of the virus. Also, the pathogen could get transmitted to others due to contact with the surface or objects that have been touched by the affected individual.
When to Seek Medical Help
Medical assistance must be sought in certain cases. Consult a doctor if the child is experiencing these symptoms:
Fever
Coughing at night
Stridor
Chest retractions
Difficulty breathing
Difficulty swallowing
Pale skin
Home Care and Treatment
Since this condition is preceded by cold, it's advisable to treat cold at the earliest. Following certain natural remedies would prove beneficial. For instance, you can keep the air moist by setting mist vaporizer or humidifier in the room. The intake of fluids should be increased to avoid dehydration. Keep the patient in the airy room. Try to calm the child, when he/she is experiencing cough at night. Crying could worsen the condition. So, make sure that the child stops crying, and stays calm. Since the symptoms of croup are similar to that of epiglottitis (inflammation of epiglottis), it is advisable to consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Medical assistance must be sought in case of severe cough and breathing problems. The treatment involves the administration of aerosolized racemic epinephrine. This could be injected, inhaled, or taken orally. Inhaled corticosteroids might also help reduce the swelling in the upper parts of the larynx and trachea. In case of breathing problems, the patient might also require oxygen.
Since the causal virus could get transmitted to others, it's advisable to avoid contact with affected children or adults. Timely vaccines and scheduled immunizations would prove beneficial. Also, drink adequate amount of water, and follow a healthy diet.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.