What is Croup?
What is Croup? Croup is one type of respiratory tract infection commonly experienced by children aged six months to three years but can also attack older children. Croup is generally caused by viruses that infect the larynx or voice box and trachea or windpipe, both of which are the air intake into the lungs. Infections of the upper respiratory tract result in typical coughing sounds such as barking.
Cause of Croup
A common cause of croup is the parainfluenza virus. Compared with other parainfluenza viruses in the family, the parainfluenza I virus is the most common type of viral cause of croup. The virus is spread by touch with any contaminated person, object or surface. This virus can also spread through the air, through sneezing, and coughing. Some other viruses that can trigger croup are flu virus (influenza A and B), measles, cold (rhinovirus), enterovirus (causes of hand, foot and mouth disease), and RSV (causes of pneumonia in infants).
Croup can be experienced more than once during childhood and generally occurs at the same time as the outbreak of flu and cold. Boys are more affected by this disease than girls. Viral infections cause swelling of the larynx and blockage of the trachea that may affect the lungs as well.
In addition to viral infections, bacterial infections can also be a cause. Some other conditions can also trigger croup, such as inadvertently inhaling small objects or substances (such as nuts), inflammation of the epiglottis (epiglottitis), and allergies. Inhalation of chemicals can also cause inflammation and trigger croup conditions, as well as the discharge of acid from the stomach to the throat or acid reflux.
Symptoms of Croup
Some flu-like symptoms can be experienced by the child several days before the onset of croup symptoms, such as runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever that can last up to several days.
Common symptoms of croup that later accompanies this condition include breathing difficulties, hoarseness, coughing sounds like loud barking, and high-pitched rough sounds when inhaling. These sounds and symptoms will be easier to hear and get worse when the child cries or when they sleep at night. These symptoms can last several days to two weeks.
Immediately see a doctor if your child has more serious symptoms, such as shortness of breath with the distance to take a breath that is too close so the child is difficult to speak or eat or drink. Listen to the child’s chest to check for breath sounds, fast heart rhythm or vice versa. Pay attention to children who become restless, easy to feel disturbed, and always feel tired and sleepy. Increased cough, fever, skin turning blue or pale, and increasingly visible breastbone and ribs may also be considered symptoms that require immediate medical attention.
Self-examination of the child’s own throat is strongly discouraged because it can adversely affect the airways and increase the swelling that makes breathing even more difficult. Take the child to a doctor for a diagnosis and treatment according to the symptoms.
diagnosis of Croup
Studying symptoms and checking the patient’s physical condition, such as coughing and body temperature, can be done to narrow down the alleged cause of croup. The doctor may perform a test to determine the levels of oxygen in the blood (pulse oxymetry) and ensure the need for hospital or home care.
Some other disorders, such as disruption of the airways, abscesses in the throat tissue, and allergic reactions have symptoms similar to croup. For that some additional tests, such as chest scanning or upper trachea, may be done to rule out factors that are not the cause of this condition.
Treatment of Croup
Adequate fluid administration is needed in dealing with lightweight croup at home to prevent dehydration in children. Water, milk, or formula can be given to infants and older children. Make the child feel comfortable and calm because crying can add severe symptoms of this condition. Doctors can administer oral cortisteroid drugs that will help relieve swelling in the child’s own throat and paracetamol to relieve the fever and the pain that arises.
Watch for the side effects of giving these drugs, such as anxiety, dizziness, abdominal disturbances, and vomiting. These medicines are also available in liquid form and can be obtained freely in pharmacies or supermarkets. Do not give cough or decongestant medicine because it can endanger the condition of children who are having difficulty breathing. Children under 16 should not be given aspirin. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about the type of medication that is appropriate for the condition and age of your child.
Children who continue to experience respiratory problems should be seen immediately to the doctor because it can require further treatment at the hospital. Adrenaline injections through the nebulizer can reduce the increasingly severe symptoms of croup. The child will inhale the medicine in the form of small water points.
In other cases, the child may need intubation, ie inserting a tube through the nostrils or mouth through the trachea to facilitate breathing. This process requires general anesthesia to prevent the child from feeling fear and pain.
Child mortality cases due to croup are very rare because in most cases, this condition will improve by itself within 48 hours. Croup symptoms can last up to two weeks and if not treated immediately croup can cause complications such as middle ear infection or pneumonia. If after hospitalization the condition of the child does not improve, the doctor may recommend further examination to look for other possible interference, such as X-ray examination in the neck and chest area.
Complications of Croup
Although rare, croup can cause respiratory disturbances that lead to severe respiratory distress, and even respiratory failure. The condition of respiratory failure is marked by the cessation of breathing, but the heart still beats.
Another complication is inflammation of one or both lung tissues known as pneumonia. Other infections are tracheitis (inflammation of the trachea), middle ear infection, and lymphadenitis (inflammation of the lymph nodes).
Prevention of Croup
Keeping the cleanliness and keeping the child away from other sufferers is the main thing in preventing the spread of croup. Like the flu, the disease can spread easily if you are not diligent in getting your child to diligently wash hands. Instruct the child to direct sneezing to the elbow area to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus to others. In addition, routine vaccination also becomes another way of protecting children from this type of infection triggers croup conditions. Some childhood vaccines that have this prevention, among others, MMR vaccine for protection from measles, German or rubella measles, and mumps. Then the DtaP / IPV / Hib vaccine for protection from tetanus, polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, and Haemophilus influenzae type b causes pneumonia.