What is a Croup in a Child?
Croup is an acute stenosing laryngotracheitis – a syndrome associated with the respiratory system of a child, which occurs mainly at night and manifests itself as hoarseness, special wheezing, barking cough.
Croup is diagnosed to children under 4 years old. In older children and adolescents, the airways are not so narrow, the cartilage in their walls lose their elasticity, therefore, with inflammation, swelling of the mucosa does not cause such symptoms. Croup is often not a serious danger, but appropriate measures must be taken in time, as described above.
Causes of Croup in a Child
The cause of croup is a swelling or spasm of the mucous membrane of the trachea and larynx. Such diseases as can provoke it:
- lack of calcium in the blood
- viral or bacterial infection leading to inflammation of the epiglottis
Symptoms of croup in a child may appear due to the nose being drawn in by a foreign body (shell, cherry stone, nut, etc.), which leads to spasm of the trachea and larynx.
Symptoms of Croup in a Сhild
The lumen of the larynx narrows, which is manifested by a barking cough and dysphonia. Dysphonia is understood as the loss of the usual timbre of the voice. Symptoms of croup in a child appear sharply, usually against the background of an acute respiratory viral disease, accompanied by fever. Croup usually appears in the first 3 days of an acute respiratory viral infection.
There are four degrees of severity of stenosis (narrowing of the larynx and trachea):
Degree Number – Symptoms – Heart Rate
- The consciousness of the child is clear. There is concern, from time to time a barking cough, inspiratory dyspnea appears. The voice is husky. Normal skin tone. – Heart rate is 5-10% higher than the norm corresponding to age.
- The child’s condition is serious, he is very excited. Symptoms such as a rough barking cough, stridor breathing, inspiratory dyspnea with retraction of the jugular fossa and other compliant areas of the chest, hoarseness, cyanosis and pallor of the skin and mucous membranes are noted. – Heart rate is above the norm corresponding to age by 10-15%./em>
- The child is in very serious condition. They note excitement or, conversely, inhibition, confusion. The following symptoms are recorded: shortened exhalation, sharp inspiratory dyspnea with the participation of auxiliary muscles, pallor of mucous membranes and skin, often they are of an earthy color, cold sweat, acrocyanosis, frequent arrhythmic pulse, deaf heart sounds, enlarged liver. – Heart rate is higher than the norm corresponding to age by more than 15%.
- The child is in an extremely serious condition, unconscious, cramps and dilated pupils are frequent. Cyanotic skin, shallow breathing, bradycardia before cardiac arrest.
Among the complications of croup in a child, bacterial descending tracheobronchitis and pneumonia are distinguished. The disease is more often on the first or second degree (described above), improvements come in 1-3 days. Croup recurs if the child has atopy. It is combined with an attack of bronchial asthma. Croup is characterized by rapid progression.
Diagnosis of Croup in a Сhild
When diagnosing, acute stenosing laryngotracheitis in a child is distinguished from diphtheria croup. The second has a slower development, the symptoms of ARVI are not fixed. Epiglottitis differs from croup in the presence of severe toxicosis, fever, deterioration of patency of the larynx, if the child is lying on his back. With epiglottitis, the child does not have a barking cough. In a quarter of cases, pneumonia begins with this disease.
With anaphylactic shock in children, laryngeal edema is sudden, develops just a few minutes after the body contacts the allergen: insect venom, food, and the introduction of the vaccine. Croup is also distinguished from congenital narrowing of the larynx (stridor), which appears, as a rule, due to the innate softness of the epiglottis or cartilaginous larynx, less often with narrowing of the trachea. Inhalation is difficult in most cases immediately after the birth of the child; the symptom is worse during the period of acute respiratory viral infection.
Treatment of Croup in a Сhild
First aid measures for croup in a child
- If the child has heavy breathing, they take him in his arms, calm him with words and strokes, give him water with warmed milk or alkaline mineral water without gas.
- The child should breathe well, therefore it is advisable to open the windows or take him to the terrace.
- As distracting measures, use hot foot baths or mustard plasters on the feet. But with a baby, such procedures are very difficult and not recommended by doctors.
- As a distraction, inhalation of moist warm steam in the bathroom is often used. They bring the child into the bathroom and open the hot water so that it flows in a strong stream.
- The child is given an antihistamine: clarithin, phenistil, zodak. Allergy medications should always be in your medicine cabinet. Taking this drug will help with laryngeal edema.
- At an elevated temperature, the baby needs to lower it to normal, since swelling of the tissues from the heat only worsens. Never use aspirin for cereals in children.
- When the signs of croup increase, a vasoconstrictor is also added to the root of the tongue. If there is a runny nose, vasoconstrictor drops are dripped into the child’s nose to facilitate breathing through the nose. Make sure to use the infant concentration and dosage of the medicine.
- From croup inhalation helps, for example, using a nebulizer.
- Call an ambulance.
Doctors may advise hospitalizing the child if he is in serious condition or the symptoms progress quickly. Sometimes at home it does not seem realistic to overcome the croup, in which there is a large stenosis of the larynx.
- give your child honey and oil medications
- give the child mint during an attack (allergy may occur)
- sprays a baby’s throat sprays (condition may worsen)
After the first measures have been taken with croup, treatment is carried out using such means:
- expectorant and bronchodilator drugs
- antiviral drugs
- antibiotics in case of a long course of the disease and the appearance of complications
Croup in a child can relapse, because the means by which you can urgently help the baby should be at hand. They are stored in a medicine cabinet and must be taken on the road, wherever you go.
Prevention of Сroup in a Сhild
- Prevent acute respiratory infections
- In case of acute respiratory viral infection, therapy should be timely and adequate.
- Keep on hand medications to relieve stenosis of the larynx and trachea
- Maintain the correct microclimate in the room – the air should be moist (60-65%) and cool (18–20°C)
- Regularly ventilate the nursery
- Keep your baby away from potential allergens.
- If you experience other symptoms associated with the respiratory system, consult a doctor immediately