Have You Heard About Croup?

I hadn’t, not really. I knew it existed,  but that was all. Then on Sunday we became very intimately aware of it.

It all started Sunday morning. Our son woke with a small cough that happened periodically through the day. We didn’t think much of it as it wasn’t causing distress and he had a runny nose so we assumed it was just phlegm in the throat. He was a little “off “through the day, but again nothing drastic so we thought it was just an off day. We got him to sleep at 10.30pm and everything was fine.

At 11.30pm he woke screaming, crying and coughing. Straight away we knew something was wrong because we had never heard that cough before (it really is distinctive). At first we thought it was just phlegm and we needed to clear it. But it quickly became apparent this was not the case. Here in Australia we have a Health hot line you can call to get advice from a qualified nurse. We were stuck on hold with them for what felt like hours but in reality was probably no longer than five minutes.

After a brief conversation with the nurse he then heard the cough and said “that sounds like crouping cough”. At first I thought he said Whooping Cough and I was filled with dread. Whooping is bad, really bad, I listen to the news I know about the recent deaths. But then I hear the nurse say croup and I felt relief. Croup is alright I thought, you don’t hear about babies dying from croup on the news.

The nurse told us to go to emergency department and get our son checked out. I was curiously fine with all this, while hubby was panicking I was doing pretty damn good. Luckily the hospital is a five-minute drive away so over we rushed. We got there and was processed pretty quickly and sent through to the emergency pediatrics section.

We then had a Doctor and nurse see us straight away. It was about now I started to worry as the Doctor said things like “virus” and “constricts throat”. Um what? constricts throat? that is about an 8 out of 10 (10 being uber bad) on the worst things to come out of a doctors mouth in my books. Suddenly I was not feeling so calm about the situation and could feel a little bit of panic creep in.

Then they said he would need steroids. Again I was pretty sure steroids was a bad thing. But apparently it is very safe for babies/children and according to the pediatric nurse they administer it ALL the time. Not terribly reassuring but everything I google researched from my iphone (ok what did we do before the invention of internet on mobiles and google? seriously?) said this was the standard treatment. Basically the steroids would relax his throat.

It worked almost instantaneously, our son stopped his horrible coughing, he stopped crying, and he actually gave us a weak smile. The nurse gave him this weird, lopsided knitted teddy the local Red Cross ladies do. It was a lovely gesture but our son was not impressed and much preferred the bubbles hubby was blowing out.

Slowly and surely he came good. Eventually he fell asleep. By this stage it was 2.30am and we were released to go home. We all went home and fell asleep.

What was the most terrifying part, for me, was just how quickly our son deteriorated. He went to bed fine and woke up completely different. Then before our eyes he got progressively worse. The Doctor said this is common, especially at night for croup, but it was truly frightening. Our Doctor also said seeing as our son has had it, chances are good he will get it again, and if that happens the chances increase again and so forth.

Friends have since told me their stories. One friend said her daughter got it four times and each time resulted in an ambulance ride and hospital stay. Another said her daughter had it on and off for 11 years. Another again said her son just had mild cases but had it about four times. Hubby’s friend said her daughter was rushed to hospital several times as well. I was amazed at how common it was, and also how bad it could get.

For more information about Croup please read this fact sheet produced by The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gayle
    Jan 25, 2011 @ 23:18:39

    Sounds like a nightmare. Glad your little boy is on the mend and is ok. Thanks for writing about this… is good to know should the situation every arise fr us.


  2. Mily
    Sep 11, 2011 @ 15:57:44

    My 4 year old daughter passed 5 months ago (april 2011) from the croup cough. So please when it has to do with breathing or coughing just get him checked out. It’s the most hurtful thing any mother can go thru..losing their child.


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