What is Croup?

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What is Croup?
Croup is an illness involving the upper parts of the respiratory system. Usually affected are the trachea, larynx, and the bronchial tubes. Most of the symptoms presented by this illness are due to some inflammation in the larynx or voice box. Commonly, the larynx is swollen resulting to a “barking” type of cough and hoarseness in the voice. In moderate to severe cases, the swelling in the larynx may result to difficulty in breathing.

Croup symptoms are secondary to a variety of viruses including those that cause flu and the common cold. This illness is said to be common in very young children usually up to 6 years of age. Infants as young as 6 months old can also be affected. Incidence is slightly higher in boys and reported cases increase during the winter months.

Croup may be transmitted to other persons by sneezing, coughing, and through physical contact with the infected mucus. Symptoms usually show up in 2 or 3 days and these include temperature elevation, sore throat, hoarseness in the voice, and later, the classic barking type of cough. A second type of croup is called “acute spasmodic croup”. This type is less frequent but has basically the same type of barking cough as the first type. The major difference is that children suffering from this second type appear healthy during the day and have no fever and sore throat. They only get to have the barking cough which is only evident at night or during bedtime.

Treatment for croup may be in the form of medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. For those with breathing problems, moist air therapy may be advised by doctors. For infants, nasal drops may prove effective in treating the symptoms. Overall, children are advised to take in enough fluids and have enough rest. Contact with other children is also ill-advised to avoid transmitting the illness to others.

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