Croup: What Is It?

Cynthia Dermody

whooping cough/croupIt's been a rough winter for colds and illnesses, and winter isn't even over yet. I think the germs have moved into our house permanently, having party after party and leaving at least one family member sniffling, and coughing, and wheezing at any given point in time.

I thought it was my daughter's turn in the rotation this week. She's been hacking incessantly every night -- all night long -- and we're all very tired as a result.

We finally took her to the doctor yesterday, and it turns out she has croup. This is the illness's first appearance in Casa Cynthia, and other realizing it's very bad to have around exhausted mommies and daddies, I didn't know much about it, so I pulled some facts:

  • Croup is an upper airway viral infection (sometimes caused by bacteria) that causes your child to cough constantly. She often sounds like a barking seal. It happens mostly at night, then magically dissappears during the day, leaving you to think it's just a cold.
  • Most kids with viral group are between the ages of 3 months to 5 years, but kids 3 and under suffer the worst.
  • It's a virus, so it's contagious, but not moreso than any other cold virus and not enough to keep your daughter out of preschool or school (that's what our doc said, anyway).
  • Most cases of croup last only 3-4 days, and then it goes away. But in the meantime, the doctor can prescribe sterioids to reduce the inflammation and tame the cough.

That's what our doctor did. Wish us all luck with the sleeping thing tonight!

Has your child ever had croup or even whooping cough? How long did it last? (Please tell me not too long.)

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