Croup, like many other causes of constant coughing, is caused by an inflammation of the upper respiratory system. It is primarily characterized by constant coughing, whose sound resembles a dry, barking noise. Generally, an underlying virus in the human body, such as parainfluenza virus or respiratory syncytial virus causes croup. Although it can affect older children, croup most commonly occurs infants and young children who are of six months to three years in age. In the beginning, a child might display the symptoms of a cold, like a stuffy nose or a slight fever. As the inflammation of the respiratory system begins to spread, the child will begin to develop hoarseness and the constant coughing. If the child’s airway becomes increasingly swollen, it cannot become extremely difficult for he or she to breathe.
Due to a lack of oxygen and constant coughing, the child may have difficulty sleeping, which leads to a tendency for the symptoms to worsen during the nighttime. Croup tends to develop in young children in the fall and early winter; however, it is generally not contagious amongst youngsters. Croup is rather simple for a doctor to diagnose due to the tale tall constant coughing.
Fortunately, in most cases, croup is rather mild. A doctor will most likely prescribe some type of steroids to reduce the swelling and inflammation in the respiratory tract. Many doctors also prescribe low doses of ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Breathing moist air also helps relieve the congestion in most young children. Therefore, a parent may need to purchase a cool air humidifier for their child’s room.
Finally, a doctor will also perform X rays on a child to ensure that there is not another means of airway blockage in the child’s lungs. Viral croup generally runs its course within three to seven days. In the most serious cases, a child can develop pneumonia, although this is rare. It is important for a parent to ensure that their child drinks adequate amounts of liquids during this time. Dehydration can only exacerbate the symptoms of croup, like the constant coughing. Frequent hand washing is preferred in order to prevent a child from catching the viruses that cause croup. Although unpleasant, the disease is treatable, and most children make full recoveries.