Your Weekly Med­i­cal Ad­vice

Euroa Gazette - - NEWS - By Dr Jimmy Huang

Croup

Croup is a vi­ral in­fec­tion which causes swelling of the voice box (lar­ynx) and wind­pipe (tra­chea). This swelling makes the air­way nar­rower, so it is harder to breathe. Croup of­ten be­gins like a nor­mal cold fol­lowed by a harsh, barking cough. This may be worse at night when the air is cooler. It usu­ally af­fects chil­dren up to five years old. Some chil­dren get croup sev­eral times. A mild at­tack of croup is when your child has the harsh, barking cough but does not have noisy breath­ing (stri­dor) at rest or is not strug­gling to breathe. Mild croup can usu­ally be man­aged at home. Some­times steroids (pred­nisolone) taken by mouth are given for croup. The steroids help re­duce the swelling in the air­way and this will make breath­ing eas­ier. An­tibi­otics do not work on viruses and are not given to chil­dren with croup. If your child’s croup at­tack is se­vere they will need to stay in hos­pi­tal. Se­vere croup is when your child has noisy breath­ing (stri­dor) when rest­ing, with the mus­cles around the ribs suck in when breath­ing, and ap­pears very dis­tressed. Croup can get worse quickly. If your child is hav­ing prob­lems breath­ing they should be seen by a doc­tor as soon as pos­si­ble.

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