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|Upper Respiratory System in a Child|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
- Age: three years or younger
- Attending day care
- History of croup
- Family history of croup
- Frequent upper respiratory infections
- Colder months: October through March
- Cough spasms
- Cough that sounds like a barking seal
- A harsh, high-pitched sound when your child breathes in, especially when crying or upset
- Trouble breathing, especially breathing in
- Poor appetite and fluid intake
- Bluish color of nails, lips, or around the mouth—This is an absolute emergency. Call 911 .
- Decreased alertness—This is also a very serious symptom. Call 911 .
- Restlessness or agitation—This can be due to dangerous lack of oxygen.
- Struggling for each breath
- Harsh, high-pitched breath sounds even at rest
- Trouble swallowing
- Inability to speak due to trouble breathing
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Rapid, irregular heartbeat; chest pain
- Rash or hives
- High fever
- Use a cool humidifier in the bedroom.
- Use your bathroom as a steam room. Bring your child into your bathroom and close the door. Turn the shower on the hottest setting. Sit in the steamy bathroom with your child. Your child's breathing should improve within 15-20 minutes.
- Cool night air may also help. Sit with your child near an open window or step outside.
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen—These ease discomfort. Follow instructions on bottle.
- Steroids—These reduce swelling in the airways. They can keep a child from becoming sick enough to need hospitalization.
- Racemic epinephrine—This is delivered through breathing treatments. It is temporary help until steroid medications start to work.
- Antibiotics—These are not helpful against a virus causing croup. But, they may be needed if there is an accompanying problem like an ear infection or pneumonia .
- Croup tent—a cool, moist air delivered inside a plastic tent
- Medications or breathing treatments—to treat inflammation and respiratory distress
- Breathing tube—inserted into the throat to help keep the airway open
- IV fluids—given directly into a vein
- Monitoring oxygen level and heart rhythms
- Tracheotomy —a surgical procedure to open the airway in children with severe breathing problems
American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.aap.org
About Kids Health http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Croup. American Academy of Family Physicians. Family Doctor.org website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/croup.printerview.all.html . Updated February 2010. Accessed July 17, 2012.
DynaMed Editors. Croup. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://dynamed.ebscohost.com . Updated March 10, 2011. Accessed July 17, 2012.
Kleigman RM, Jensen HB, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics . 18th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2007.
What is croup and how is it treated? American Academy of Pediatrics. Healthy Children.org website. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chest-lungs/pages/Croup-Treatment.aspx . Updated January 2012. Accessed July 16, 2012.
- Reviewer: Kari Kassir, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013
- Update Date: 09/30/2013