Croup is a childhood ailment affecting the trachea, bronchi and larynx. Children diagnosed with croup have a characteristic bark-like cough with a harsh sound or stridor while inhaling. The child might also have a hoarse voice and there is difficulty breathing since the airway is blocked.
Generally, croup is triggered by a virus. Various viruses can cause croup but in most cases, it is the parainfluenza virus.
Who are at risk?
Croup typically affects young children between 6 months up to 3 years old. Most cases occur among 1-year old children. Nevertheless, croup can oftentimes develop among infants as young as 3 months old as well as older children up to 15 years old. It is rare for adults to develop croup.
The condition is prevalent during late autumn and early winter season. It is likely to affect more boys than girls. In most cases, a child might suffer the condition more than once during childhood.
Management of croup
In most cases of croup, the condition is generally mild and can be managed at home. Keep the child seated upright and comforting him/her if distressed is vital since crying can worsen the symptoms.
Make sure that the child is provided with plenty of fluids to drink to prevent dehydration.
A single dosage of an oral corticosteroid such as dexamethasone or prednisolone might be prescribed to lessen the swelling in the throat.
If the child has breathing issues, hospitalization is required in which treatment involves adrenaline and oxygen via a mask.