Pediatrics: Croup

Dr. Gallagher has extensive personal experience with childhood health and Naturopathic services to help you with questions about your child’s health.  Family wellness plans.  A complimentary telephone conversation with Dr. Gallagher is available for the asking, submit the request here.  If you ever say the words ‘I wonder about….’, then ask Dr. J., you just never know what she may share with you.

Here is just one example of her experience with looking at healthcare situations with a different eye.  Thank you for reading here.

My Experience with Croup

The Dark Knight who takes your breath away

Croup has not been an unfamiliar visitor to our home. This guest had seemed to make itself very welcome when the first snowflakes of the season would mount into measurable feet outside our door. However, I had come to several realizations and heartbreak over this ghost who grabs the life out of the lungs of children, both big and small.

Due to the economic changes this last year, it is extremely important to recognize when your child needs help and get medical care. Although croup can be very scary and seem to be the normal cough of the neighborhood, it is never to be taken lightly nor ignored.

Warning: Do not allow any of these to overrule getting emergency help for a child who is gasping for air, turning pale or blue in the face, who’s eyes seem to be bulging out of their head with fear, or a child who is jumping about trying to gasp for air.

Warning: Lack of medical insurance, fear of medical bills, not having a regular pediatrician, lack of any regular medical care, or your own issues as a parent when it comes to medical care are not advisable when it is a child who needs help.

Warning: If your child is exhibiting any of these symptoms, go to the nearest emergency room, urgent care, lung specialist, or allergy specialist. Keep in mind, I have listed these in the order they should be evaluated at. If you can get to an emergency facility within a reasonable time, do it. If not, an allergy specialist right next door to your work or daycare may be an alternative since they have the medications to provide emergency care until the child can be stabilized or sent to an emergency facility.

There are many home treatments available to provide comfortable breathing to a child with swollen airways from the croup virus but these are never to be substituted for emergency medical care. All cases of croup should be seen by a medical professional to evaluate the child’s airway and oxygen exchange.

Cool/steam misting: these are not always the rock solid answer for everyone. Humidifiers and vaporizers can harbor bacteria if left with water for an extended period of time. Cleaning with a diluted solution of Clorox or white vinegar is essential every 24 hours.

Dry airways that are filled with mucus stick together which is not good for the child. Cough suppressants can lower the child’s ability to respond to a need to cough or breathe deeply, therefore, reducing oxygen and responsiveness of the child. If the child is in distress, it may be difficult to assess or recognize by giving unprescribed medications. If seeking emergency medical care, grab all the items you have given the child for the last several days. Empty bottles and misread dosages can be evaluated by hospital staff rapidly upon looking at the items.

I have had my own experiences with this culprit: over forty visits to emergency rooms with my four children over twenty years. Sadly to say, my sister had been on the losing end of this virus, she passed away in 1955 at the age of six months. We lived just down the street from the hospital. Has medical care changed? We now have inhalation steroid treatments and injections for medical emergencies. I have also spent a week sitting on a rocker inside an oxygen tank with my daughter on my lap, holding her head to my heart, so she could feel me and I could hear her. She did survive.

Be careful, listen to your child, don’t listen to others who have their own issues about you getting care for your child, do listen to your gut, it will tell you when to hit the car and get help. Those little lives depend on it.