Croup is an infection which affects the respiratory system including the larynx, trachea and bronchial tubes in the lungs which is usually caused by virus and sometimes by bacterial infection. In some cases, croup can cause infection of the upper respiratory tract which is known as bacterial tracheitis or epiglottis which requires medical help immediately.
Croup usually affects children between the ages three months and 5 years but can also develop at any age.
- Bacterial infection
- Viral infection that is caused by the Para influenza virus
- Inhalation of irritants
- Adenovirus, measles and influenza
- Acid reflux from the stomach
- A loud barking cough which is a sound like the barking of a seal
- Sometimes there is presence of mild common cold and flu-like symptoms
- When the infection becomes severe, the vocal cords are swollen and the airways are narrowed which eventually leads to sore throat and a fever.
- When the croup becomes severe, coughing becomes frequent and severe
- There is difficulty breathing and a harsh sound can be heard during inhalation or stridor.
- Croup becomes severe at night
- Irritability and agitation
- Symptoms of croup usually lasts for 5-6 nights where the symptoms are very severe during the first 2 nights of the infection
If the symptoms last for more than a week, it is best to seek medical help immediately.
- Cuddle the child, read books or play a quiet game since crying makes breathing a lot difficult.
- Allow the affected child sit in an upright position in the lap of the mother, in a favorite chair or infant seat in order to help make breathing more easier
- For affected babies, provide breastmilk, formula or water. As for older children, you can give frozen fruit pops for relief from the condition.
- Encourage the affected baby or child to get plenty of rest in order to promote faster healing of the condition.
- Provide the prescribed over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen in order to lessen the pain and reduce the fever.
- Allow the child sip chicken broth in order to minimize the risk for infections and curb down the inflammation of the airways.
- Consume foods rich in vitamin C or take vitamin C supplements since these can fight off infections. Consult a doctor regarding the suitable supplements to use if in doubt.
- Drink a cup of hot water mixed with lemon juice and honey to help relieve a sore throat.
- Take a hot shower since the steam produced by the hot water helps in minimizing breathing difficulties caused by coughing due to croup.
- Place a damp and cold cloth around the throat to lessen any swelling in the area.
- Massage the chest, throat and the back using lobella extract to relieve any breathing difficulties due to croup.