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General Practice 2023

Crupe: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

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Crupe: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment
Crupe: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment
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Croup is a disease characterized by inflammation of the trachea, larynx and cartilage at the site, most common in children between 1 and 6 years of age, which is mainly caused by a virus, although it can also be related due to bacterial infection, which affect the upper and lower airways.

The transmission of croup happens mainly through the inhalation of droplets of saliva and respiratory secretions that are suspended after someone infected coughs or sneezes, leading to the appearance of symptoms such as difficulty breathing, hoarseness and strong cough.

It is important that any child with symptoms suggestive of croup go to a pediatrician so that the diagnosis can be made and appropriate treatment started quickly.

Main symptoms

The initial symptoms of croup are similar to the flu or cold, in which the child has a runny nose, cough and low fever. As the disease progresses, more typical symptoms of viral croup appear, such as:

  • Difficulty breathing, especially breathing in;
  • "Dog cough";
  • Hoarseness;
  • Wheezing when breathing.

The "dog cough" is very characteristic of the disease and can decrease or disappear during the day, but worsen at night. Symptoms of the disease are usually worse at night and can last for 3 to 7 days.

Often, other complications can also arise, such as increased heart and respiratory rate, pain in the sternum and diaphragm, in addition to bluish lips and fingertips, due to poor oxygenation.

As soon as symptoms suggestive of croup appear, it is important to go to the pediatrician so that treatment is started and complications of the disease are avoided.

Possible causes

Croup is an infectious disease that in most cases occurs as a consequence of a virus infection, mainly by the Influenzae virus, this type of croup is known as laryngotracheobronchitis and whose contagion occurs through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects and by inhaling droplets of saliva released when sneezing or coughing.

However, in less frequent cases, croup can be the result of infection by bacteria of the genus Staphylococcus and Streptococcus., receiving the name of tracheitis. Understand what tracheitis is and what the symptoms are.

Furthermore, croup may have a non-infectious origin, which may be a consequence of the presence of tumors, presence of a foreign body in the region or paralysis of the vocal cords, for example.

The diagnosis of croup is made by the doctor through observation and analysis of symptoms and cough, but an imaging test, such as X-ray, may also be requested to confirm the diagnosis and exclude the possibility of other diseases.

Crupe and COVID-19

Infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, can cause inflammation of the upper airways, favoring the development of the characteristic signs and symptoms of croup. In addition to the typical croup cough, other symptoms such as fever, runny nose, headache and excessive tiredness may be noticed, for example. Know how to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19 in children.

Types of croup

Croup can be classified into some types according to its cause and characteristics, the main ones being:

  • Viral croup, also known as laryngotracheobronchitis, which is caused by a virus and causes inflammation of the trachea and bronchi;
  • Bacterial croup, also known as tracheitis or laryngotracheitis, which is caused by bacteria and causes inflammation of the trachea and larynx in some cases;
  • Spasmodic croup, also known as stridulous laryngitis, in which a non-inflammatory swelling of the tissues is observed, having no infectious cause;

The diagnosis of croup is made by the doctor through observation and analysis of symptoms and cough, but an imaging test, such as X-ray, may also be requested to confirm the diagnosis and exclude the possibility of other diseases.

How the treatment is done

The treatment of croup is usually started in the pediatric emergency and can be continued at home, according to the indication of the pediatrician. It is important to drink plenty of fluids to improve hydration and leave the child in a comfortable position so that they can rest. In addition, inhalation of cold, moist air, or nebulization with saline and medication, is very important to help moisten the airways and facilitate breathing, depending on how the child is breathing.

Some medications, such as corticosteroids or epinephrine, can be used to decrease airway inflammation and improve breathing discomfort, and acetaminophen can be taken to reduce fever. Medicines to reduce coughing should not be taken unless the doctor tells you to do so. Antibiotics are only recommended by the doctor when croup is caused by bacteria or when the child has a chance of developing a bacterial infection.

When croup does not improve after 14 days or symptoms worsen, the child may need to be hospitalized for oxygen and other more effective drugs to treat the infection.

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