So what is croup and what should we do to help our little ones while they are unwell?
Croup is an infection causes the voice box (larynx) to become swollen and the windpipe (trachea) can become blocked. The airways in the lungs (bronchi) can also become inflamed.
Croup is commonly caused by a virus, most often the parainfluenza virus.
Croup is spread in a similar way to the common cold so it is very easy to catch. It is most prevalent in the Autumn and early Winter.
Croup most commonly affects children aged 6mths to 3yrs with most cases a presenting in 1yr olds. It can sometimes develop in babies as young as 3mths old and older children up to 15yrs. It is rare for an adult to catch it but it is possible!
A harsh, barking cough and a stridor (a harsh sound when they breathe in) are the distinctive symptoms of croup. They may also have a horse throat and find it difficult to breathe.
A GP can usually diagnose croup and it can be treated at home but if your child is having any difficulty breathing take them straight to the closest A&E department for immediate treatment.
Most mild cases of croup can be treated at home. Keeping your child upright can help the cough and comforting them when they are upset is important as crying can make the symptoms worse. Regularly give your child water to drink as staying hydrated is very important.
A single dose of an oral steroid can be prescribed by your GP to help reduce swelling in the throat.
If your child has any breathing difficulties they need to be taken to hospital immediately to receive treatment, possibly oxygen through a mask or adrenaline.
Many cases clear up in 48hrs but it can last a couple of weeks.
Unfortunately yes, children can catch croup more than once.