Munson Health
 
Croup

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by Wood D

(Laryngotracheobronchitis)

 

Causes

Croup is caused by viral infections such as:
 

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your child's symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Tests are not always needed. If croup is severe or not clear, your doctor may request:
 

Treatment

The goal is to keep your airway open until the infection clears. The infection causing croup will resolve on its own in 5-7 days. Severe symptoms usually resolve in 3-4 days.
If your child is diagnosed with croup, follow your doctor's instructions . Treatment options include:

Home Care

Your child may have trouble sleeping because of breathing difficulties. Moist air may help your child breathe easier. The following methods may help:
  • Use a cool humidifier in the bedroom.
  • Use your bathroom as a steam room. Bring your child into your bathroom and close the door. Turn the shower on the hottest setting. Sit in the steamy bathroom with your child. Your child's breathing should improve within 15-20 minutes.
  • Cool night air may also help. Sit with your child near an open window or step outside.
Make sure your child has plenty of fluids. Choose water and unsweetened juices.

Hospital Care

For serious croup, your child may need to be hospitalized. Hospital care may include:
  • Croup tent—a cool, moist air delivered inside a plastic tent
  • Medications or breathing treatments—to treat inflammation and respiratory distress
  • Breathing tube—inserted into the throat to help keep the airway open
  • IV fluids—given directly into a vein
  • Monitoring oxygen level and heart rhythms
  • Tracheotomy —a surgical procedure to open the airway in children with severe breathing problems
 

Prevention

Croup usually occurs due to an upper respiratory infection. Take steps to decrease your child's chance of catching colds and flu. Wash your hands often. Avoid contact with people that have cold or flu when possible.
Yearly influenza immunization can prevent cases of croup due to influenza A. Influenza immunization is strongly recommended for all children between the ages of six months and five years.
 

RESOURCES

American Academy of Pediatrics
http://www.aap.org

KidsHealth
http://www.kidshealth.org

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

About Kids Health
http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

 

References


Croup. American Academy of Family Physicians. Family Doctor.org website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/croup.printerview.all.html . Updated February 2010. Accessed July 17, 2012.


DynaMed Editors. Croup. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://dynamed.ebscohost.com . Updated March 10, 2011. Accessed July 17, 2012.


Kleigman RM, Jensen HB, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics . 18th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2007.


What is croup and how is it treated? American Academy of Pediatrics. Healthy Children.org website. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chest-lungs/pages/Croup-Treatment.aspx . Updated January 2012. Accessed July 16, 2012.

 

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