SYMPTOMS: The term ‘croup’ refers to an unusual type
of hoarse cough. Doctors term it as ‘brassy’ or ‘croupy’
cough. It is often, though not always accompanied by stridor
(noisy breathing), hoarseness of voice and difficult breathing. CAUSES: Croup is due to an inflammation of the larynx
(voice box) and trachea (windpipe). The inflammation may
be due to a self-limiting viral infection, but also to a
serious bacterial infection.
The common causes of croup are:
involving the larynx (see Diphtheria)
- Spasmodic croup
A croup without fever is not a serious disease, but can
be very scary — both for the child as well as the parents. The disease
usually affects children between 1 and 3 years of age.
SYMPTOMS: The child goes to bed normally and gets up suddenly with a barking cough and noisy breathing. He
appears very anxious. He has no fever. As the dawn sets
in, the child appears normal. He may get similar attacks again.
The disease occurs due to a viral infection. Allergy and psychogenic factors may play some role. There may be a
history of similar episodes in other members of the family.
TREATMENT: Steam inhalation is the best treatment. Sit with your child for about 20 minutes in the bathroom a
little away from a hot shower or a bathtub or a big bucket
filled with hot water. Let the child sit up till the doctor comes. Give him
plenty of liquids, including water.
After the first attack, it is advisable to consult a
doctor to rule out any serious disease.
This is also a viral infection.
SYMPTOMS: In this, fever is a prominent feature, besides the sudden appearance of croupy cough and noisy
breathing. Unlike in spasmodic croup, the child’s condition
rapidly deteriorates. The child appears extremely restless and
TREATMENT: Show the child to a doctor and let him/her decide if hospitalisation is needed.
Acute epiglottitis is a bacterial infection. It is the
most serious type of croup and needs urgent attention. It affects the
lid covering the trachea (epiglottis).
SYMPTOMS: Besides the symptoms mentioned above, the child has difficulty swallowing and drools. Within a few
minutes or hours, the condition may worsen. Breathing
may become very difficult. The child may become blue or even unconscious.
TREATMENT: Children affected need hospitalisation and are given oxygen, intravenous fluids and antibiotics.
11 February, 2013