Do you hear a rasping noise when your child is breathing? Is your child finding it difficult to breathe and also coughing with a barking sound? These are some of the symptoms of croup, which is a respiratory viral infection affecting many small children between 6 months and 3 years old.
Croup is a viral infection caused by parainfluenza virus and affects the respiratory system in young children. The virus that causes croup is most active in autumn and winter when young children are more susceptible to respiratory viral infections due to the change in weather.
Croup causes swelling of the air passages or windpipe, voice box or larynx, and bronchi in the lungs. This causes the entire respiratory system to be put under pressure when trying to inhale and causes a rasping sound or stridor, which is one of the primary symptoms of croup.
Other symptoms of croup include strong coughing with a barking sound. The swollen larynx causes the bark-like sound while coughing. The entire respiratory system including wind pipe, bronchi, and voice box is swollen and causes the constriction of air passages. It also causes increased mucus secretion, which is one of the other symptoms of croup.
Apart from primary viral infection, secondary infection through airborne droplets coughed by affected children is one of the common causes of croup in children. Also, in children who have not had the viral infection before, croup symptoms are more severe.
Respiratory viral infection such as croup can be easily diagnosed by a physician by examining the child. Antibiotic and oral corticosteroid treatment may be necessary to alleviate symptoms of croup and relieve the respiratory system, though croup can mostly be managed easily at home and cured gradually.
Croup causes high temperature along with other symptoms, which can be examined by a doctor. Care should be taken to not insert any object into the trachea since it can perturb respiratory infection and cause spasm in the respiratory airway.
Though croup viral infection usually occurs in young children, it can also occur in older children and adults. While examining the symptoms of croup, care should be taken to not misinterpret epiglottis, which is a bacterial infection that may cause similar symptoms of croup. However, epiglottis infection certainly requires treatment and affected children show more severe symptoms of respiratory trouble including bluish skin, extreme tiredness, increased heartbeat, difficulty in breathing, drowsiness, and continuous deterioration.
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