Is Your Baby Suffering From Croup Infection? Here’s How You Can Check

Sarmistha Neogy
·6-min read

Life can be taxing when your baby is suffering from an infection. The little one is extremely uncomfortable and you have the hardest time trying to get him to relax and feel better.

A slight change in weather and your little one has a runny nose and chest congestion. It’s particularly distressing when your baby is sick with a cough. He’ll have breathing trouble, sleep less, and will be irritable the whole time.

Home remedies and a little time does the trick for cough infections in most cases. But sometimes, the infection can be alarming and needs a paediatrician’s attention. A severe cough infection could also point towards croup in babies.

Fairly common in newborns, croup infection affects up to three percent of babies within the age of six months to five years, annually. While it can be treated at home, more severe symptoms will need a doctor’s intervention. Here’s all your need to know about croup in babies, symptoms, precautions and treatments.

Croup In Babies: Everything You Need To Know

croup in babies
croup in babies

Croup in babies usually lasts between five to six days if the symptoms are very mild. | Image courtesy: Pexels

Symptoms Of Croup Infection In Babies

Croup occurs when there is inflammation in the upper airway (larynx and trachea). This causes the barking cough. You may find that croup symptoms generally peak two to three days after the symptoms of the viral infection begin. They typically last three to seven days and may get worse at night.

Here are some common symptoms of croup in babies:

  • Barking cough: The loud barking cough gets aggravated by crying and coughing. Anxiety and agitation in your kid set up a cycle of worsening signs and symptoms. The wheezing sound comes because the upper airway of your little one is swollen, and this makes it difficult for them to breathe.

  • Fever: Infants can have a fever if their temperature is at 100.4°F (38° C) or higher when taken rectally. And around 99°F (37.2°C) or higher when taken by other methods.

  • Noisy breathing: One of the common symptoms of croup in babies is trouble during breathing. You may hear an unsettling noise when your little one breathes.

  • Runny nose: Your child may also cry to show discomfort due to a runny nose with clear discharge. They can also have stuffy nose or congestion, accompanied by sneezing.

Croup in babies usually lasts between five to six days if the symptoms are very mild. But if the croup cough lasts up to 14 days, it is time for you to take your little one to the doctor.

Here’s when to call the doctor

Consult a doctor, if your child’s symptoms are getting worse and they are not responding to treatment. Look for these red flags in your child.

  • Begins drooling or has difficulty swallowing

  • Breathes at a faster rate than usual

  • Struggles to breathe

  • Develops blue or greyish skin around the nose, mouth or fingernails

  • When your child seems anxious and agitated or fatigued and listless

  • Pale look: When your baby inhales, the skin between their ribs tends to pull in, giving them a pale or flushed look

Croup is usually caused by a viral infection, most often a parainfluenza virus. Your child may have got the infection by breathing the infected respiratory droplets.

You need to take care of your little one as the virus particles may also survive on toys and other surfaces. So, disinfect all your baby’s toys or objects which they play with to avoid the spread.

Croup in babies is usually mild. But, some may also show severe symptoms. When the inflammation in the airway swells, it may obstruct your child’s breathing.

Precautions To Keep Baby Safe From Croup

croup in babies
croup in babies

You should keep yourself clean and hygienic when handling a baby. | Image courtesy: Pixabay

  • Wash your hands: It is very important to inculcate good hygiene habits to keep any infection away. Ensure that you wash your hands regularly before picking up the baby. And if you have older kids in the house, ask them to follow this as well.

  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue: This practice needs to be followed every time. Coughing and sneezing on a handkerchief or the elbow will curb the spread.

  • Clean surfaces regularly: As the virus infection can settle on surfaces, clean them. From washing your kids’ toys to disinfecting them.

Treatment Of Croup In Babies

croup in babies
croup in babies

Steam or vapour can help to loosen the mucus in your child’s airway. | Image courtesy: iStock

It can be quite a stressful experience seeing your child in discomfort. There are some ways in which you can provide relief to them.

  • Use a mist humidifier. If you do not have one at home, you can fill your bathroom with steam and take your child inside for 10 minutes. This may help to reduce some congestion.

  • Calm your child: Your child’s coughing can get more intense with stress. Try to lighten the environment. Sing a lullaby or make them laugh to keep them happy and stress-free.

  • Give plenty of fluids: Your baby needs to have plenty of fluids including water. This will help to loosen the mucus and your baby will be able to breathe comfortably. (This is applicable if the baby is above six months. If younger, please stick with breastmilk).

  • Make them sit in an upright position: If your baby coughs incessantly, make them sit up. This will help them to breathe better as compared to when lying down.

If your child continues to have these troubles for more than two weeks, you shouldn’t wait further. Take your kid to the doctor immediately.

  • The doctor may recommend the following courses of treatment

  • Pain and fever medications may be prescribed if your baby has a cold and fever

  • The doctor may also suggest some anti-inflammatory medicine to help reduce the swelling in your child’s airway

Your baby will be able to recover fast if they get adequate sleep. So, don’t panic if you find your little one suffering from an incessant cough. Instead, think of ways to give them relief. Look for signs that tell you when you need to rush to the hospital.

The first few years of a child’s life can be stressful for parents. From frequent coughs, high fevers to allergies, they will give you sleepless nights. But, remember, this is just a phase, where your child’s immunity is developing. This will pass soon.

Source: Mayo Clinic, Orlando Health

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