Croup is a childhood disorder in which the windpipe (trachea), the airways to the lungs (the bronchi) and the voice box (larynx) gets affected.
Children suffering with croup have a distinctive barking cough and will make a harsh sound, known as stridor, when they breathe in.
The one suffering from croup can also have a hoarse voice and the patient will find it difficult to breathe as their airway is blocked.
Croup can usually be diagnosed by a general physician and treated at home. If your child’s symptoms are much severe and they are finding it difficult to breathe, take them to the nearest hospital and get the treatment start.
Who is affected by croup?
Generally croup affects young children aged between 6 months to 3 years, with most cases occurring in 1 year olds.
However, sometimes croup can be developed in babies as young as three months, and older children up to 15 years of age. Adults can also suffer from croup but this disease is quite rare.
The condition is known to be more common at the time of late autumn and early winter months. Croup tends to affect more boys than girls. There is a possibility that a child can experience croup more than once during his childhood.
Why does croup happen?
Commonly, croup is caused by a virus. Various viruses can also cause croup but in most of the cases, it is caused by the parainfluenza virus.
Complications associated with croup
Most cases of croup clear up within 48 hours. However, in some cases symptoms can last for up to two weeks.
It is very rarely seen that a child has died from croup. There are various conditions that can follow croup, like pneumonia and middle ear infection.
Treatment of croup
Most of the cases of croup are mild and can be easily treated at home. Sitting your child upright and comforting them if they are distressed is important, because crying may make symptoms worse. Your child should also drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
A single dose of an oral corticosteroid medication called dexamethasone or prednisolone will usually also be prescribed to help reduce the swelling in the throat.
If your child has started to have breathing problems then they should surely provide them hospital treatment, like adrenaline and oxygen through a mask.