What is it?
Croup is a respiratory condition characterised by a barking seal-like cough and laboured breathing.
Symptoms: Croup attacks usually occur at night. The child wakes with a sudden loud crowing noise which becomes louder when he inhales. The child is alarmed and bewildered, fever.
Causes: Usually due to swelling of the lining of the air passages. Occurs soon after the onset of an upper respiratory tract infection.
Treatment in the home: Croup can be treated at home if it is mild, be calm and reassure your child. The condition worsens if the child is irritable and crying. Increased humidity relieves symptoms. Take your child into the bathroom and close the door and windows. Turn on the hot water in the shower or bath and let the room fill up with steam. Do not leave the child alone-sit with him until the condition improves. Encourage the child to drink plenty of clear fluids.
Possible complications: Pneumonia
When to consult a doctor: Call the doctor immediately if: The symptoms get worse fairly quickly-more noise, a higher temperature. The breathing is rapid and difficult. Breathing is always noisy in croup, but should not be difficult. The child appears to be very ill, regardless of the degree of breathing difficulty. The child’s lips or fingernails take on a bluish colour. If the child leans forwards and drools.
What the doctor may do: Examine the child and advise you to continue with home treatment as outlined above. Prescribe an antibiotic if the child has underlying bacterial respiratory infection.