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Croup making the rounds

By asoglin
Friday, September 21st, 2007 at 2:00 pm in Babies & Tots, Health & Safety.

Doctor's bagI am not a doctor, so if your kid is sick call your pediatrician for medical advice, BUT I’ve spent enough hours (and dollars) at Kaiser the past two months that I think they should at least give me an honorary medical degree or something.

I had to take my 3-year-old in today after almost having to call an ambulance at 5 a.m. when he woke up unable to breathe he was so congested. My doctor, running an hour behind with no hope of catching up, diagnosed him with croup and said she’s suddenly seeing a virtual epidemic of this viral illness making the rounds.

Croup has got to be one of the most scariest moments for a parent. It hits in the middle of the night when it’s hard to think straight, and it packs a dramatic punch to the little one’s lungs.

A kid can go to bed with minor cold symptoms or no symptoms at all and pop up at 2 a.m. literally gasping for air with that tell-tale seal bark cough.

While many a parent will rush off to the emergency room, relieving the immediate symptoms of a croup attack is usually just a matter of steaming up the bathroom and letting the child breathe the moist air to help open up his airway. Another often-recommended treatment is to take the child outdoors into the cool night air.

Medical experts also recommend using a humidifier in the child’s bedroom and, as always with respiratory illnesses, making sure to keep her hydrated by offering plenty of water or juice. (Milk is a no-no because it increases mucus production.)

My little guy has asthma so his treatment includes using his inhaler and taking a perscription cough medicine. I’ll also make sure to get him (and everyone in our family) a flu shot in October as that season is unfortunately around the corner.

For more information, I like the Web site It offers a symptom checker, perscription drug information and all sorts of other gadgets to entertain your inner hypochondriac.

Kari Hulac

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