Croup is a condition that causes an inflammation of the upper airways particularly the larynx and the windpipe. It usually results to a barking cough or hoarseness especially when crying.
Croup can be caused by viruses in which the viral cases are the most common and the symptoms can be severe. Children 6 months up to 3 years old are susceptible to this condition. Viral croup can be treated at home.
Spasmodic croup is a type of croup that happens to a child suffering from a mild cold. Barking cough usually starts at night and the child has no fever. It is called spasmodic because there is a sudden inflammation of the larynx and boys are more susceptible to this condition than girls.
- There is a mild runny nose and hoarseness for a few hours.
- When the voice box and upper airway organs become inflamed, there is slight fever and a croupy cough.
- Severe inflammation causes barking, noisy inspiration and a metallic cough.
- The coughing is similar to a seal barks
- When inhaling, a high pitched voice can be heard which is known as stridor
- The face becomes red and congested with an anxious expression
- Sometimes, the lips turns blue due to the lack of oxygen
- The voice becomes hoarse with fast pulse and skin that is moist
- In the morning, spasms disappear with mild hoarseness and loose coughing, but sometimes it can continue the next night.
- First thing to do is comfort the affected child since difficulty in breathing can become worse.
- Install a cool or warm mist vaporizer placed in the room of the child. Humidified air helps lessen swelling of the vocal cords and also helps minimize the symptoms. Make sure hot water vaporizers should be out of reach of children in order to help prevent accidental burns. Another way is to let the child breathe steam from the bathroom with a shower with hot water running down or a bathtub filled with hot water.
- Take the child for a 10 to 15 minutes sitting or driving in the cool night air, if coughing becomes severe at night, and also helps in relieving respiratory symptoms of the child.
- Make a saltwater nasal drop by mixing ¼ teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of water. Carefully instill the saltwater solution into the nasal passage every few hours and then suction it using a bulb syringe in order to help in opening the nasal passages.
- Give the child popsicles in order to help prevent dehydration and avoid activities during the first days of the illness.
- A lingering cough that last for more than two weeks should be assessed by a doctor.