Health Watch: Croup

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Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 3:50 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Hi I’m Dr. Annie Hibss from Creekside Medical Clinic and today I would like to talk to you about croup. Most people are probably familiar with croup as the illness that causes that seal barking cough. It is a fairly common respiratory viral illness that mostly affects infants and young children. In adults, it may cause mild cold symptoms or a hoarse voice. In infants and young children, it can be much more serious. It causes inflammation in the upper airway and this causes the barking cough, hoarse voice, and stridor or noisy breathing. The illness will resolve on its own but there are times when certain medications like a steroid shot or a breathing treatment are needed to treat infants and young children.

Croup is usually caused by the virus parainfluenza but it can also be caused by other respiratory viruses like RSV and adenovirus. It is typically worse at night which is unfortunately when most doctors’ offices are closed. So, here are some things you can try at home. Take your child out into the cold air or if it is not cold outside, open the freezer and hold them in the cold air or go down into a cold basement. You can also sit in a steamy bathroom with them. This can improve the upper airway swelling and ease their breathing. Croup is typically worse on the second or third night, so you should still bring your child to the doctor in the morning to be evaluated, even if they seem better.

If your child develops difficulty breathing, stridor at rest, bluish discoloration around the lips, drooling, or difficulty swallowing they need to be seen right away. If you notice the skin above the sternum or between the ribs is being pulled in when they breathe, this is also a sign that they are working harder to breathe and warrants immediate evaluation.

Otherwise, you should treat this like other respiratory illnesses and make sure they are staying well hydrated, use a humidifier in their room and try some nasal suctioning if they aren’t old enough to blow their nose.

I’m Dr. Annie Hibbs and this has been your HealthWatch,>

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