Saturday, May 19, 2012

Croup

I tell you what....croup sucks.  Anytime your kids are sick is just no fun for anyone, but croup sounds so scary!  Of course, now that we've experienced it, it's not quite as scary anymore.  We have had miscellaneous viruses floating around our family for the last few months.  With 4 adults, 3 kids (one of them school aged), 3 cats and 2 dogs living in one house, it's bound to happen.  Especially since my parents travel for work so often.  Well, one of those viruses happened to hit Little Man.  Started with a cough and a stuffy nose.  He was breathing fine, but his voice was hoarse.  It was just like the last virus he had a month before.  Then it turned into full blown gasping for breath at 11 pm, whooping sound.  I swooped him up and took him straight to the ER.  I was terrified that he caught whooping cough or RSV or some horrific thing.  It turned out to be croup.

Now croup in itself is not a virus or anything that you can catch.  It is actually the body's way of reacting to a virus.  In adults, it is like laryngitis.  In kids, their airways are so tiny that any inflammation leads to some really scary sounds.

When the doctor in the ER said that it was croup, I didn't quite understand.  Luckily, he was really nice and patient and he sat down and explained it to me.  He said that it was nothing to be worried about and that it wasn't necessarily something that the other kids could catch.  He did say that they could react in the same way to the same virus and that there are some viruses that are more likely to cause a croup reaction more than others.  He also said that it can come from something getting stuck in the throat or an allergy.  So, Little Man had some oral steroids to reduce the inflammation long term and a breathing treatment to help reduce it faster in the short term.  He also had an x-ray done to make sure that he didn't have something stuck in his throat.  His breathing didn't get better after the first breathing treatment, so the doctor wanted to do a second one.  By this time it was about 1 am.  He said that the medicines were so strong that they wanted to monitor him closely after the second breathing treatment.  Since it was so late, they admitted him to the Children's Hospital so he could have a chance to get a little sleep too.  We were all set up in his room by 2 am and his breathing was still pretty hoarse, so they wanted to do one more breathing treatment at around 3 am.  He slept in 45 minute segments all night until he finally slept from 6 am to 9 am.  I, however, didn't sleep more than 45 minutes all night.  After getting checked in the morning, we were able to leave about 11 am to head home.

The doctors told us that if this happens again to do two things:  put him in the bathroom with the shower going on hot and take him into the cold night air.  The steamy bathroom would help to decrease inflammation, and cool fresh air can have the same effect too.  If those two things don't help, then it would be necessary to bring him back in.  Luckily, he was OK.  Within a week, he was back to normal and completely over his virus.


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