I remember the first time my son had the croup. It was a really scary night. He woke up at 2a.m. wanting his bottle and to my surprise, he was boiling with fever when I picked him up. His fever was soon accompanied by a horrendous cough.
Like any good mother at 2a.m., I whipped out my iPhone and prayed that Google had an answer that would calm me down. After several attempts searching for bad cough in infants and high fever and deep cough in infants; I came across an article on the croup.
WHAT IS THE CROUP?
In most cases it’s a virus that causes an inflammation of the upper airways—the voice box (larynx) and windpipe (trachea). It often manifests in a barking cough or hoarseness, fever and cold like symptoms.
What is so scary about the croup? The fever can come on suddenly (usually while your child is asleep) and the cough has a seal-like bark that sounds like it can’t possibly be coming out of your little human. In addition, your child might have a very shallow and quick breathing pattern, causing you to worry if he is breathing right and getting enough oxygen.
So, here I was in the middle of the night desperately searching for clues and recordings of what the croup sounded like. I mean, I’d heard of it before…but it wasn’t until my own baby had it that I panicked and didn’t know what to do.
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Fortunately, 2a.m. in the States means it’s 9a.m. in Spain, where my uncle is a pediatrician. Once again, technology to the rescue—I fired up Skype and we connected, and he was able to ease my fears until the next day when I could get my baby to the doctor.
HOW TO TREAT THE CROUP
The doctor will be able to quickly diagnose your child by the sound of the cough. It is normal for your child to have other cold-like symptoms like a runny nose, congestion, fever and overall crankiness.
Make sure your keep your baby hydrated either by nursing, formula, water or Pedialyte solution. If your doctor orders a chest X-ray, don’t be scared; it just means she wants to rule out other illnesses and the very small possibility that your child might of gotten something stuck in his airway.
In most cases, the croup is very mild and will pass as quickly as it came on. A steamy shower or a small bathroom filled with moist air usually helps keeps a child’s airways open and helps him be more comfortable. You can also add a cold mist humidifier in your baby’s room. If you can’t break up the continuous cough and fever (if present) you should take your child to a doctor immediately.
Remember that other mamis have been where you are. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions—when it comes to your baby’s health, there isn’t such a thing as a silly question. And, if you are anything like me, you might need a lot of strong coffee to get through the next two or three days.