What Is Croup?

This year croup seems to be on the rise. Croup (aka laryngotracheobronchitis) is the name of a condition caused by viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. It mainly affects young children/toddlers but babies can affected as well as some adolescents. The symptoms are ‘a barking cough’ and noisy breathing, which usually starts quite suddenly, especially during the night. The infection can cause swelling of the lining of the windpipe, which becomes narrow, causing difficulty breathing. It can be quite alarming to parents and the child may become distressed because of difficulty breathing. If your child is showing signs of breathing difficulty then you must call an ambulance. At hospital, your child will be observed and may be given some medicine called Dexamethasone (steroid medicine), which will act quickly and relieve the swelling in the windpipe. If your child responds and remains stable, you may be allowed home to continue with the medication. In more severe cases, adrenaline is administered by a nebuliser inhaler and your child will be admitted to hospital until he or she recovers. In a few cases, children suffer repeated attacks of croup and so will need to be investigated by a respiratory specialist.

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