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Martha Jefferson Healthwise: Croup

November 29, 2012

If your infant or toddler has been having trouble breathing or you notice a deep cough, it could be time for a trip to the doctor. In this week's Martha Jefferson Healthwise report CBS19’s Stephanie Satchell found out more about croup and symptoms parents should be on the lookout for.

Dr. Katherine Smyth of Palmyra Medical Associates says during the fall more children seem to come down with croup.

It's a viral infection of your voice box and windpipe that causes swelling in those areas. It often occurs in children between six months and 3-years-old.

“It can start with something as simple as a runny nose or a fever and it’s very non-specific and you won't even notice croup at that time,” said Dr. Katherine Smyth, Palmyra Medical Associates.

As the child's infection gets worse so do the symptoms.

“The first thing you might notice is a sore throat, a hoarse voice and then they'll start to get a deep barking cough that sounds like a seal. It's a dry cough,” said Dr. Smyth.

While Dr. Smyth says most symptoms of mild croup can be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen, a child may need to go to the emergency room if symptoms become more severe.

“If they start having any inspiratory sound with every breath or working hard to breathe or you're seeing the pulling at the chest then you'll go to the emergency room,” said Dr. Smyth.

Dr. Smyth says hospitalization is rare, but if it's needed children will often receive a shot, midst or oral medication.

Dr. Smyth recommends frequent hand washing and a flu shot. She says those are the best ways to prevent croup.


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