Blog written by: Dhrithi Bhat
Croup cough is a common respiratory illness that mostly affects youngsters. In order to deliver the right care, one must be aware of the condition's symptoms, underlying causes, and potential treatments.
What is Croup Cough?
Laryngotracheitis, another name for croup cough, is a viral infection that mostly affects children's larynxes and tracheae. The parainfluenza virus, specifically type 1, is the most prevalent cause of croup, but other viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza virus, and adenovirus can also be responsible for it. The infection causes irritation and swelling of the upper airways, which results in recognizable symptoms including a barking cough, hoarseness, and breathing difficulties.
What are the symptoms of Croup Cough?
Recognizing the symptoms of croup cough is vital for early identification and management. The following signs are commonly associated with this condition:
- Barking cough: It is a unique cough caused by croup, that sounds like a barking dog or a seal.
- Hoarseness: Vocal cords get inflamed, making the voice hoarse or raspy.
- Stridor: Severe cases of croup cough may cause a high-pitched whistling sound during inhalation known as stridor.
- Laboured breathing: Airway obstruction can result in rapid, shallow breathing and visible pulling in of the chest or neck muscles called retractions.
- Low-grade fever: Some children with croup cough may develop a mild fever as their body responds to the viral infection.
What are the causes of Croup Cough?
Viral infections are the primary cause of croup cough. The majority of cases are caused by the parainfluenza virus, mainly type 1. Croup cough can also be brought on by other viruses, such as adenovirus, influenza virus, and RSV. These viruses are incredibly contagious and spread via respiratory droplets from sneezes and coughs. Age (children under three are more susceptible), a compromised immune system, and exposure to second-hand smoke are among the variables that can make a youngster more susceptible to croup.
How to treat Croup Cough?
While croup cough can be distressing, most cases resolve on their own within a few days. However, several treatment options can help alleviate symptoms and provide comfort:
- Home remedies: Coughing and breathing problems can be lessened by maintaining a soothing and peaceful environment, providing enough of drinks, and utilizing a cold mist humidifier.
- Medications: Acetaminophen or ibuprofen, two over-the-counter painkillers, can be used to lower temperature and discomfort. Before giving any medication to a child, you should, however, speak with a medical expert.
- Medical intervention: The child must be seen by a doctor if their symptoms worsen or continue. To lessen airway inflammation in extreme situations, medical professionals may recommend oral or inhaled corticosteroids. Rarely, hospitalization and the provision of additional oxygen or nebulized epinephrine may be essential.
How to prevent Croup cough and when to seek medical help?
Although it can be difficult to stop the transmission of croup-causing viruses, maintaining cleanliness can help lower the risk. It's crucial to regularly wash your hands, stay away from ill people, and follow proper respiratory protocol as preventive measures.
Medical attention is required if:
- The child feels difficulty in breathing.
- The child develops a high fever or a fever that lasts more than a couple of days.
- The child appears unusually fatigued or lethargic.
- The child's lips or nails turn blue.
Early diagnosis and effective treatment can aid with symptom relief and ensure the child's well-being. It is critical to get medical assistance if symptoms intensify or continue. Children who have croup cough can heal and return to normal activities in a timely way with proper information and prompt care.
- Bjornson, Candice L., et al. "A randomized trial of a single dose of oral dexamethasone for mild croup." New England Journal of Medicine13 (2004): 1306-1313.
- Bjornson, Candice, et al. "Nebulized epinephrine for croup in children." Cochrane database of systematic reviews2 (2011).