Croup: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
What is croup?
Croup, also known as laryntracheobronchitis, is an infection which affects the respiratory tract particularly the windpipe, airways and vocal cords.
This condition is very common in young children especially those who are below five years of age with cases seen more often in males as compared to females. It is responsible for about fifteen percent of all visits of infants and toddlers to the paediatric unit of the emergency department.
What is the cause of croup?
Croupis caused by a number of viruses, all of whom are responsible for the common cold. Some of these viruses include parainfluenza virus type 1 and 2, influenza virus A and B, adenovirus, measles virus and respiratory syncytial virus.
In some instances, croup might also be caused by bacteria such as staphyloccus aureus, streptococcus pneumonia, hemophilus influenza and Moraxella catarrhalis.
What are the signs and symptoms of croup?
The virus which leads to croup affects the respiratory tract causing it to become inflamed and swollen. A person suffering from croup starts off with symptoms of common cold such as fever, sore throat and cough followed by difficulty breathing, hoarseness of voice, stridor which is a creaking noise heard when the individual inhales and signifies an obstruction of the airways. The sufferer also experiences a typical type of cough known as the “barking cough.”
How is a case of croup diagnosed?
Croup might not be a fatal infection only resulting in death in extremely rare cases, but it does make an individual suffer quite a bit. It is very important for the doctor to perform a number of different methods in order to diagnose the condition and start treating it as soon as possible.
The doctor looks at the signs and symptoms, performs an x-ray of the neck to detect a characteristic the “steeple sign” and finally nasopharyngeal aspiration to find out the exact cause of the infection.
What is the treatment of croup?
Croup is an infection which is self-limiting or simply the fact that the concerned individual ger ets better with time.However, in order to provide some relief to the individual the doctor might make the use of a few ways including prescribing drugs such as steroids, administering epinephrine in nebulized form.
Since croup is a viral infection antibiotics should be avoided and should only be taken if a secondary bacterial infection develops. Any other method such as administration of cough medicines is both unnecessary and ineffective.
How can croup be prevented?
The only known way to prevent the occurrence of croup in an individual is to get that particular person immunized against the causative agents of the said condition including influenza and diphtheria.