Croup is a disease of the throat in children

This presents as a loud noise(stridor) when the child takes a breath in.

 

What causes croup?

  • Croup is generally seen when the child has an infection of the throat or nose.

  • Most of the time this starts as cold infections with fever, running nose, cough.

  • Most of these infections are caused by viruses, hence there is no active treatment for this, but just symptoms management.

 

Why does croup occur?

  • The windpipe that carries air into the lungs, can get infected with viral infections. This causes swelling of the windpipe and narrowing.

  • This cases the loud breathing noise.

 

What are the features of Croup

  • Croup is diagnosed by seeing the behaviour of the child.

  • The inspiratory breathing noise is typical, it is called as ‘STRIDOR’.

  • Child may also have a typical cough that sounds like ‘BARKING’

  • Along with this, the child may have other features of common cold like

  • Fever/ weakness/ body pain

  • Cough/ cold / running nose

  • A sore throat

  • Symptoms get worse at night and when child is agitated

 

How long does Croup last?

  • Like any other viral infection, this last for as much as a week.It subsides by itself.

 

Is croup dangerous?

  • The severity of breathing problem depends on the age of the child .

  • Generally, babies less than 1 year can have severe problems, hence better to be managed by a doctor.

  • Older children may manage better.

 

What is the treatment?

  • The child is given steroids at the hospital to reduce the swelling in the windpipe.

  • This is a temporary measure.

  • Steroid can be given as nebulisers or syrups.

  • The effect of steroids lasts a few hours, hence the breathing problem can recur again.

 

What are the danger signs

  • Change in colour is dangerous

  • Extreme weakness, difficulty breathing needs to be seen

  • Fever/ fits in the child need to be seen.

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