The initial symptoms of croup are similar to that of common cold. The following HealthHearty write-up provides information on croup symptoms that will help you recognize this viral disease as early as possible.
Croup, which is medically referred to as acute laryngotracheobronchitis, is a childhood infection that is characterized by inflammation of the windpipe and the voice box. This infection commonly affects children in the age group of 3 months to 5 years. It is categorized into viral croup and spasmodic croup. Laryngotracheitis, as the former type is known, is caused by an infection that takes several days to develop. The latter develops quickly, and may recur.When the affected child tries to cough, air that is forced through the narrowed pipes or passage causes vibration of the vocal cords. This causes a distinctive barking noise. This sound tends to be very scary for parents and children alike. However, there is nothing to worry about, if you seek medical care at the right time.
This infection is mostly caused by the parainfluenza virus, but other viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus, rubeola virus, and influenza virus could also cause this infection. The virus is transferred through respiratory droplets that become airborne when the infected person coughs and sneezes. The virus can also get transmitted on touching contaminated surfaces such as tables, door knobs, etc. The infection could occur when one touches the eyes, nose or mouth, after touching the contaminated surface.
The condition begins as a common cold. The child may develop slight fever, sore throat and have a runny nose. Then, after a few days, especially at night, the child will develop a hoarse, barking cough. This is the distinctive symptom. The child also develops a hoarse voice. The child’s breathing becomes noisy, and the bouts of coughing may last for a few hours and disappear.
After a few nights, the same barking cough may return. The frequency of the cough increases, causing breathing problems. As the child cannot breathe, he/she tends to panic and cry. This worsens the cough leading to stridor, a noise made during inspiration. The child may begin drooling and has difficulty in swallowing. This makes the child more agitated and irritable. Some children may develop blue or gray skin color around the nose, mouth, and fingernails. Children may also develop a fever of 103.5 degrees F.
It is important that you take the child to a doctor, if you observe signs. Diagnosis is usually based on hearing the typical barking cough. The doctor may prescribe corticosteroids, epinephrine, and similar medications that help open the airways. In case of a severe infection, the child maybe hospitalized and given humidified oxygen.
You need to give your child plenty of fluids. The affected child must rest. You need to give the child a warm moist air vaporizer to help him breathe. Steam inhalation will help open the nasal passages. Never leave your child alone in the bathroom filled with hot steam. Then, after 10 minutes you can take your child out in cool air for about 10 minutes. Make your child as comfortable as possible. If the child is crying continuously, sing him a lullaby or try to divert his attention.
Is Croup Contagious?
It is a contagious infection and you should avoid sending your child to a school or playgroup. As the virus can be transmitted through respiratory secretions, it is better to keep your child away from school to avoid the infection from spreading to other children.
Croup is a mild viral infection that can turn severe. If you child is having continuous breathing troubles and the barking cough does not seem to go away, you need to seek medical attention.
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.