Shaken Baby Syndrome

A large number of child deaths are reported in South Africa each year. A lot of deaths relate to neglect, abuse or murder. Despite this, there's a knowledge gap in relation to understanding the issue....

Amniotic fluid problems

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Choosing a pre-school

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Newborn reflexes

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Mastitis

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Pelvic floor exercises

Although your new baby will probably bring you immense emotional satisfaction, physically you may feel uncomfortable and strange in your own skin. After 9 months of pregnancy and hormonal changes, you...

Colic

Babies cry because they need to communicate something and most parents, especially new moms, find it distressing to see or hear an unhappy baby. In time, you will learn to recognize the various causes...

Antenatal Classes

Antenatal classes are informative sessions provided to prepare expecting parents for the birth of their child and the early days of being a parent.Most antenatal classes are run by Midwives and occasi...

Strap-in-the-Future

The Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 was launched on the 11 May 2011. It is a global declaration of war against road crashes and fatalities. According to Mr Sibusiso Ndebele, MP Minister of ...

  • Shaken Baby Syndrome

    Tuesday, 21 July 2015 16:28
  • Amniotic fluid problems

    Thursday, 14 May 2015 12:54
  • Choosing a pre-school

    Friday, 10 April 2015 17:50
  • Newborn reflexes

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:49
  • Mastitis

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:41
  • Pelvic floor exercises

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:20
  • Colic

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:11
  • Antenatal Classes

    Monday, 03 June 2013 09:34
  • Strap-in-the-Future

    Thursday, 30 June 2011 13:52

Croup

Croup, also known as laryngotracheobronchitis, is a contagious, viral illness of the respiratory system involving the voice box and vocal cords (larynx), windpipe (trachea), and the bronchial tubes or airways leading to the lungs. Croup most commonly affects children between the ages of 6 months and 3 years and occurs more frequently in boys than in girls (MedicineNet, 1996-2010; Iannelli, 2010).

 

Symptoms

Symptoms generally develop between 2-6 days of being exposed to the croup virus. The onset of croup symptoms is distinct in that they are sudden or abrupt, i.e. your child may be completely well when she goes to bed but wake up in the middle of the night with a croupy cough and trouble breathing. The pattern of croup symptoms is also characteristic. Symptoms tend to be worse at night or if your child becomes anxious or agitated.

·                Croup produces a distinctive sounding cough, like a barking seal.

·                Inspiratory stridor or a loud, high-pitched, harsh noise on inhalation is another common sign of croup. Stridor is caused by an inflammation of the larger airways.

·                Hoarseness

·                Sore throat

·                Gagging or vomiting as a result of coughing.

·                Fever (38°-40°C).

·                Infants may be grumpy, tired and have poor appetites (MedicineNet, 1996-2010; Iannelli, 2010).

 

When to consult your doctor

Like most viral infections, there is no cure for croup and generally mild croup symptoms can be cared for safely at home. However, because croup involves the inflammation of the airways leading to the lungs and the airways in young children in particular are narrower, in serious cases the passage of air to the lungs might become obstructed. The following signs indicate that your child is having difficulty getting air in:

·         A very anxious, tired, panicky child.

·         Indrawing occurs, where the throat caves in just above the top of the breast bone.

·         Laboured breathing with stridor.

·         Bluish tongue, lips or skin.

·         Non-stop drooling.

Consult your doctor if your child’s symptoms worsen or you are uncomfortable with your home treatment Collins, 2003; Leary, 1990).

 

Treatment

·                Since croup is caused by a virus, antibiotics are usually not necessary.

·                Use your parental ingenuity to comfort and reassure your child (e.g. read her a story) because an uptight, anxious child is going to find it more difficult to breathe. It is essential to monitor your child’s breathing, especially in the early phases of the illness because breathing difficulties can develop and worsen suddenly.

·                Increase the humidity level in your child’s room using a humidifier, or have her breathe in a bathroom steamed up with water from the bath or shower. In the case of infants, create a croup tent by covering the crib with a sheet and running steam from the kettle into the tent.

·                Coughing and stridor generally tend to worsen at night. A 10-15 minute drive in the cool night air may help improve your child’s breathing difficulties.

·                Blocked nasal passages may contribute to your child’s general discomfort and can further impair breathing. Carefully instil 2 drops of saline solution into each nostril every few hours. Instruct older children to blow their nose, or use a bulb syringe to remove the mucus in the case of infants.

·                Over the counter medications have potential side-effects and should not be used without your doctor’s advice. You may give your child an appropriate dose of liquid paracetamol to relieve fever symptoms.

·                Ensure your child is sufficiently hydrated. Warm drinks in particular are often soothing.

·                Children with moderate to severe croup who aren’t responding to home treatments may require further medical attention. This usually includes the administration of a steroid to reduce inflammation and improve breathing.

·                In severe cases, children are admitted to hospital, where they may be given oxygen and medicated inhalations to ease breathing (Collins, 2003; Leary, 1990; MedicineNet 1996-2010).