Croup is an ailment that is brought on by an infection affecting the larynx. This condition affects infants and young children, and is characterized by severe cough, fever and hoarse breathing. The article provides information on the symptoms and treatment options for this ailment.
Croup, which is a condition that is characterized by severe cough and breathing difficulty, affects babies and young children. It is caused due to the inflammation of the vocal cords and trachea. It is a disease of the upper respiratory tract, which causes persistent cough, mostly at night. Though this condition usually lasts for a week, proper care and treatment is necessary. The main causes are infections caused by influenza virus, adenoviruses, and other respiratory viruses. In some cases, it is caused by bacterial infections. This disease is quite contagious in the winters. It can easily spread through the inhalation of the respiratory secretions that become airborne, when the infected child coughs or sneezes. Care must be taken, so that the mucus or sputum of an infected child does not come in contact with toys, clothes, or any other objects of a healthy child.
The immune system of infants is not very well-developed, which makes croup very common among children who are younger than five to six years. There are more chances of children getting affected, when they come in close contact with those who are infected. The symptoms may last for a week. During this period, the baby develops a bluish or gray complexion on the nose and the mouth. The disease starts with a common cold and cough, and progresses to a severe form. The symptoms of this condition are listed below.
- Throat pain
- Runny nose
- Persistent Cough
- Swollen respiratory tract lining
- Irregular heart rate
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Difficulty in Breathing
- Noisy and high-pitched sounds while inhaling
- Increased irritability or agitation
When the aforementioned signs are witnessed, seeking medical attention becomes the immediate priority. The treatment is extremely important because the infection can progress to bronchi and lungs. In some cases, this can lead to pneumonia. In case of babies, the instillation of saltwater nose drops is suggested for opening the nasal passages. The use of oral medicines is avoided in case of babies and toddlers due to the risk of side effects. Doctors may prescribe some steroids for affected children to reduce inflammation. In cases wherein the infection is due to bacterial causes, doctors will prescribe some antibiotics. When the condition is caused by a viral infection, reducing the severity of the symptoms is pivotal. Some prescription drugs like acetaminophen can help reduce fever and throat pain. Aerosol treatments and steroids are also effective in treating croup, but these should be taken only under medical supervision. The use of over-the-counter medicines is not advised.
There are some remedies which you can try at home. These home remedies can help to relieve the discomfort caused by croup considerably. Due to cold and nasal congestion, a baby finds it difficult to breathe. To relieve this symptom, fill the bathroom with hot water suffusing the room full of steam. Sit with your child and make him inhale the steam for 10 – 15 minutes. Steam will open the respiratory tract to some extent making intake of air easier. Another method is keeping a wet cloth over the child’s mouth or nose, thereby letting him inhale the moist air. Moist air can relieve breathing troubles very well. Eating and swallowing the food is another difficulty faced by the child, which is why it would be best to feed your child semi-liquid and liquid foods.
Apart from these remedies, keep your baby away from dust and other allergens. Avail the appropriate treatment, as soon as you see any signs and symptoms of croup.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.