agitated even when you try tently when he breathes in. swelling in the airway within two
to comfort him? If you can- • You notice your child’s chest or three hours.
not calm your child down, he wall caving in or “indrawing”
needs to be assessed. when he breathes. When a child is having breathing
• In good light, look at the color • Your child’s croup symptoms difficulty with croup, a medication
of your child’s lips and face, are causing him to be upset or called “epinephrine” (also known
checking for any bluish-grey restless. as adrenaline) is given through a
color. If there is poor color, breathing mask on the face. This
your child needs to be as- On the way to the emergency de- medication is very safe when given
sessed. partment, dress warmly and keep in the emergency department. It
the car window open to let in cool works quickly by shrinking down
When to Call an air. Often, by the time he arrives at the swollen area in the windpipe.
Ambulance the emergency department, they It can temporarily relieve croup
Call an ambulance immediately will have improved on the way. symptoms for approximately two
if: hours and is often used in children
• Your child’s face has a bluish- Treatment for Croup with more severe breathing prob-
grey color for more than a Since croup is caused by a viral lems while waiting for the dexam-
second or two. infection, antibiotics (which only ethasone to take effect.
• You cannot rouse your child, work for bacteria) are not helpful
or he is unusually sleepy or and should not be used. Over-the- Preventing Croup
“out of it” while making croupy counter cough and cold medica- There is no way to prevent croup.
sounds. tions do NOT help and are not The best thing families can do is to
• Your child is very agitated, recommended. For a long time, ensure that they wash hands fre-
stressed, or is struggling to “mist” or steam was used to treat quently to help stop the spread of
breathe and you cannot help croup, but recent research has viral infections that cause croup.
him by calming him down. shown that it is not effective.
Dr. Candice Bjornson is a pediatri-
When to Go to the ER The best treatment for croup is a cian who specializes in respiratory
You should seek medical care steroid medication called dexam- diseases of childhood. She has a
right away if, after calming your ethasone that is given by mouth as busy practice at the Alberta Chil-
child and exposing your child to long as a child is able to swallow. It dren’s Hospital in Calgary, Alberta,
cold air: is a very safe medication. Usually, Canada. She is also active in re-
• You can hear your child making only a single dose is required, and search in lung diseases in children,
the “crowing” sound consis- it starts to work by