Croup is an infection that causes swelling around the vocal cords.
IN croup breathing difficulties and a bad cough that sounds like a barking seal occurs. Many of the viruses responsible for croup also cause the common cold. its mostally happen in damp and cold weather, croup usually targets children under the age of 5.
TYPES OF CROUP
It usually results from a viral infection. The most common virus that causes it is parainfluenza virus (types 1 and 2). This virus is responsible for causing infection in around 80 % of these cases. Apart from this other viruses that can cause it includes adenovirus, influenza virus A & B, metapneumovirus and respiratory syncytial virus. A child may get this infection directly from breathing the air droplets infected with cough or sneeze by an infected child. Other than this it can also spread indirectly. In this case it can occur in a child after touching any object (like toys) / any other surface (which is contaminated with the virus from droplets of cough / sneeze of an infected child) and afterwards touching his / her nose, eyes or mouth without washing and cleaning them properly.
Other than viruses, croup can also be caused by a bacterial infection which is rarer but more severe than the viral one. Most times initially viral infection occurs that causes croup and is followed by secondary bacterial infection in these cases. The bacteria involved includes Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Moraxella catarrhalis and Haemophilus influenzae.
This type is believed to arise from allergies like from pollens or from reflux (in which the stomach contents back flow in the food pipe). It occurs all of sudden mostly in the middle of night. Fever doesn’t occur commonly in this type.
SYMPTOMS OF CROUP
Croup often begins as a typical cold. If there's enough inflammation and coughing, a child will develop:
- Loud barking cough that is further aggravated by crying and coughing, as well as anxiety and agitation, setting up a cycle of worsening signs and symptoms
- Hoarse voice
- Breathing that may be noisy or labored
Symptoms of croup are typically worse at night and usually last for three to five days.
CAUSES OF CROUP
Croup is usually caused by a viral infection, most often a parainfluenza virus.
Child may infected a virus by breathing infected respiratory droplets coughed or sneezed into the air. Virus particles in these droplets may also survive on toys and other surfaces. If child touches a contaminated surface and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth, an infection may follow.
RISK FACTOR OF CROUP
Most at risk of getting croup are children between 6 months and 3 years of age. Because children have small airways, they are most susceptible to having more symptoms with croup.
COMPLICATION OF CROUP
Most cases of croup are mild. In a small percentage of children, the airway swells enough to interfere with breathing. Rarely, a secondary bacterial infection of the trachea can occur, resulting in trouble breathing and requiring emergency medical care.
Only a small number of children seen in the emergency room for croup require hospitalization.
PREVENTION OF CROUP
To prevent croup, take the same steps you use to prevent colds and flu.
- Frequent hand-washing is the most important.
- Keep your child away from anyone who's sick.
- Encourage your child to cough or sneeze into his or her elbow.
To stave off more-serious infections, keep your child's vaccinations current. The diphtheria and Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) vaccines offer protection from some of the rarest — but most dangerous — upper airway infections. There isn't a vaccine yet that protects against parainfluenza viruses.
HOMOEOPATHIC TREATMENT FOR CROUP
Spongia – Top Grade Medicine
It is a leading medicine to treat cases of croup. The cases needing it present with dry, rough and barking coughs. It is a short and irritating type. Cough is present day and night but may worsen at night time. Child needing it may wake up at night with a violent harsh cough and quick respiration. With the above symptoms, difficulty in breathing is there. Next attending feature is sharp whistling in the chest. Noisy breathing is also there. A sensation of roughness or burning may be felt in the larynx. Hoarseness of voice is present along with above symptoms. In these cases constriction in the larynx during sleep may also be felt. Additionally there is fever with dry skin, red face and excessive thirst. There may be cold preceding the cough.
Drosera – For Deep, Hoarse, Barking Cough
This medicine is prepared from plant Drosera Rotundifolia commonly known as round leaved sundew. It belongs to the family droseraceae. It is well indicated for deep, hoarse, barking coughs. It is a dry, irritative type. The spells of cough follow each other quickly. Cough worsens from talking. In children requiring it the cough usually begins particularly at night soon the head touches the pillow. A tickling sensation or dryness in the larynx is also felt.
Hepar Sulph – For Loud, Barking Cough, Noisy Respiration
This medicine is well indicated for loud, barking cough and noisy respiration. Cough is also harsh, deep, rough and scraping. Some mucus rattling may attend the cough. Hoarseness of voice also appears. The hoarseness is almost continuous. At times there is loss of voice. Difficulty breathing also occurs. Fever is there along with above symptoms. A great sensitivity to cold air accompanies. In most cases the symptoms worsens after midnight or towards morning. It is also indicated for attack of croups after influenza.
Aconite – When Cough Awakens The Child From Sleep
This medicine is prepared from plant Aconitum Napellus commonly known as monkshood. It belongs to family ranunculaceae. It is beneficial when cough awakens the child from sleep. Cough is dry, short, barking, whistling and suffocating. It is also indicated for loud croaking coughs that worsens during expiration. The child grasps his throat during coughing. It worsens from exposure to cold air. Voice is husky. The larynx is inflamed, sensitive to touch.
Antimonium Tart – For Rattling Cough And Difficulty In Breathing
This medicine offers great help when there is a rattling cough and difficulty in breathing. Cough occurs in attacks with hoarseness. Air is expelled with a barking sound. Breathing noise is sharp, rough, whistling type.
Phosphorus – For Barking Cough Day And Night
Homeopathic medicine Phosphorus is valuable to treat cases in which barking cough continues day and night. Cough is also dry, short, tickling, hacking or loose. Expectation may occur which is stringy in nature and has a salty taste. Continuous irritation may be felt in the larynx and trachea. There is also pain, roughness, dryness and burning in the larynx. Hoarseness of voice also occurs. Fever is present along with above symptoms.
Bromium – For Rough, Barking, Suffocative Cough
This medicine is useful when there is rough, barking, suffocative cough. With this there is marked hoarseness. Larynx is painful with this. There is much rattling in the larynx when coughing. Whistling, croupy sounds with breathing are present.
Kali Bichrome – For Croupy Cough With Yellow Expectoration
This medicine is helpful for croupy cough with expectoration of yellow phlegm. It is stringy, tenacious in nature. Difficult breathing also attends. Another accompanying symptom is pain and soreness in the larynx. Fever and a runny nose may be present with a cough. Most times the cough is worse in the morning time.e.t.c