The viral infection that causes the inflammation and swelling of vocal cords in young children is known as the croup. After the age of 5 it is uncommon. Episodes of croup are outgrown as the airway passages grow larger.
Croup is marked by barking cough, hoarseness, and difficult breathing. It can last for about 3 to 5 days, accompanied by a fever or cold.
Croup without fever (spasmodic), the most common and mildest type of croup, comes on suddenly, usually during the night. The child may have seemed perfectly healthy during the day or have the mildest cold but suddenly with a violent fit of croupy coughing.
Croup with fever (laryngotrachea bronchitis) is a more serious croup, which inflames the area around the vocal cords down to the large bronchi(airways). It is usually accompanied by chest cold and often a fever. The croupy cough and tight breathing may start slowly or suddenly at any time of the day.
Most children with croup can be cared for at home. Three key elements in treatment are moist air, keeping the child sitting up or propped up, and encouraging plenty of fluids.
Add moisture into the air to make it easier to breathe.The simplest method is to take the child into the bathroom, close the door, turn on the hot water faucet of the shower, and sit with the child upright on your lap on the bathroom floor for 15 to 20 minutes, inhaling steam. Other options are a brief walk outdoors or a cool-mist humidifier in the child’s bedroom.
Provide plenty of clear fluids, such as water or diluted juice, which can help to loosen the cough.
Use acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tempra, or a generic). Never give aspirin to children or adolescents.
Elevate the head of your child’s bed.
Cough medicines and antibiotics are not effective in treating croup.
Signs and Symptoms that should be taken care of
Child cannot relax enough to sleep after 20 minutes of steam inhalation.
Child has had croup symptoms for more than 3 nights.
Child is coughing and breathing with increasing difficulty.
Child drools and has great difficulty in swallowing.
Child cannot bend his or her neck forward.
Child has blue or dusky lips or skin.
Child cannot swallow saliva.
Child wakes with a croupy cough but no fever, perhaps makes high-pitched noises when inhaling .