Soothing your little one's croup symptoms

If you've got a toddler, chances are, your child has probably had croup. Croup is a common respiratory illness among children from ages 0 to 5 years -- it's caused by a swelling inside the throat that can lead to difficulty breathing, congestion, overproduction of mucus and the trademark "barking seal cough" that can be very scary for parents and children alike. While the croup virus can get pretty serious, most of the time, it's treatable and will pass quickly, within about a week.


Croup symptoms

Croup produces trademark symptoms of a cough, difficulty breathing, and hoarseness or wheezing which is often worse at night. Pallor, a fever and drooling can also be presented when a child has croup. Crying or agitation can make these symptoms worse, and croup can often accompany other respiratory illnesses like colds, lung infections or bronchitis.

Is croup contagious?

Croup itself is not contagious, but the respiratory illness that may herald it most certainly is. About 15% of children are affected by croup, and males are affected more than females. The condition seems most prevalent in autumn and winter, which is also when influenza, colds and other respiratory illnesses seem to peak.

How to treat a croup cough

Treatment for croup can often be performed at home. Sometimes, steam can help your little one breathe better, and many children improve by breathing in medicated steam. Some people find that keeping their child calm and ensuring that symptoms of the cold are treated can help with croup. In more serious cases, steroids and epinephrine may be given, and the child may be hospitalized. Serious cases of croup include extra symptoms like the chest drawing in, or the child turning blue. The airway must be cleared immediately in order for the child to breathe.

While croup can be a very serious and scary condition for parents and their children, children tend to grow out of this particular respiratory ailment by age six. Regular care and careful hand washing can keep illness at bay and help to prevent croup from making your little one miserable.