What is Croup?

Pediatric Otolaryngologist Nina Shapiro and Development Pediatrician Jim Varga take us through dealing with Croup, a viral illness that affects a child’s windpipe.
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What is Croup?

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- Croup is a viral illness that affects the windpipe in young children. Most commonly, this is an inflammation of the airway that affects children between ages about six and 18 months. It can affect older children, but it's much more commonly seen in young children. This is a child who has a little bit of a cold, maybe a little bit of a fever, and then, in the middle of the night, you hear a seal barking. It really sounds like you have a seal in your house. The child wakes up barking like a seal and the reason they're doing that is because there's some narrowing in their windpipe in the area that's infected from the virus.- The first thing that parents should do is take the child to the bathroom, and close the door, and, as our grandmothers did for many years, turn on the hot shower, and spend 15 or 20 minutes in the bathroom, with the hot steam. If that does not improve the child's breathing, then I recommend taking the child outside in the cool night air, with a blanket or something of the kind wrapped around them, and that usually will break the child's attack, and you can return them to bed. And then I'd like them to run a cool mist humidifier alongside the bed.- It's very important that you stay calm if your child is having this episode. It's very scary for children. They feel that they can't breathe. If you calm down, usually, your child will calm down.- Any child with croup who has had difficulty breathing at nighttime should be seen by the pediatrician in the morning and, if the breathing does not improve with those old grandmother's remedies, they should be taken to the emergency room. Fortunately, today, we don't see the severe type of croup that we did 30 years ago, and that was a condition called epiglottitis, which, fortunately, for vaccinated children, is now prevented by the Haemophilus influenzae b vaccine.


Pediatric Otolaryngologist Nina Shapiro and Development Pediatrician Jim Varga take us through dealing with Croup, a viral illness that affects a child’s windpipe.

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