We at Hyfe, Inc., are a company devoted to working on tools to better understand the importance of cough. It is Hyfe’s intention in the future to seek regulatory approval for medical products that analyze cough in order that they may be used to diagnose, monitor, and facilitate better treatment of respiratory illnesses.
In these times of pandemic, a cough can be a worrisome thing. Not only is it a prominent sign of COVID-19, but it can also be part of a constellation of symptoms heralding more serious lung diseases. Moreover, when children develop a cough, it can be particularly troubling given their increased susceptibility to disease and the immaturity of their immune systems. Let's explore the subject of croup cough.
Croup is an infection of the upper airways that occurs most frequently in children, often less than five years old. It is characterized by a barking, seal-like cough, along with hoarseness, difficulty breathing, and signs of the common cold (runny nose, sore throat, etc.). In the United States, it causes 7% of hospitalizations in children below five years old, usually between six months and three years of age. Given these statistics, it is easy to see why croup would be a cause for concern for most parents.
The swelling of the upper airways causes obstruction, leading to the characteristic cough sound associated with croup. Because of this, a child may have both audible and difficult breathing.
Croup is commonly caused by viruses, the most common of which is the parainfluenza virus. Other viruses include influenza A and B, measles, adenovirus, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). To a lesser extent, bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumonia, Haemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis also cause croup.
Croup is a self-limiting condition, which means it will resolve on its own. However, in severe cases, your doctor may prescribe a combination of steroids, epinephrine, oxygen, and intubation to help ease symptoms.
Here are some tips on how to look after your child with croup at home:
In this case, the only way to get confirmation is by consulting your doctor and getting your child tested.
Croup can be a difficult illness for children to deal with. To prevent it, ensure a clean environment at home, wash toys and frequently used items, and avoid leaving the home if only for essentials. In this way, we can also lessen the spread of COVID-19.
Mikaela is a dentistry clinician at the University of the Philippines.