If you are unfamiliar with croup - dictionary.com defines it as:
"A pathological condition of the larynx, especially in infants and children, that is characterized by respiratory difficulty and a hoarse, brassy cough"
First off, "brassy cough".... what the heck? What it actually sounds like is a seal/sea lion barking inside your childs throat. Just imagine that.
Secondly, it's usually sudden onset in the middle of the night (sometimes preceeded by a minor cold/virus) and symptoms can usually be reduced by a steamy shower, cool humidifier or trip outdoors on a cold night - at least this was always the case with Jacob.
Last, they typically outgrow it by the time they are about 5 because then their trachea is larger and minor irritations don't cause as much swelling.
This family is not strangers to croup. Jacob had his first bout with it sometime right around his first birthday. Having been first time parents at that point in time, we immediately took him to the ER (he actually did need a breathing treatment to get some relief - so it was good that we took him). After that there was much research done and Jacob had a few more, less severe recurrences. None of which needed to really even be treated by a dr. - just a steamy bathroom and a cool humidifier. He hasn't had it since he was about 2.5 yrs.!!
Eli... now he's a different story. Eli had his first bout around 14.5 months. No ER trip was immediately needed, but he still wasn't much better by morning so I had to take him to the pediatrician for a shot of Decadron (a fast acting, single dose steriod that reverses symptoms within 24 hours) to reduce the swelling in his trachea/vocal cords. In the 3.5 months since then, he has had FOUR more recurrences. Same drill, up and down all night and a trip to the pediatrician the following day (we even had to do it once when we were in Florida). However, he had a recurrence Saturday night that actually landed us in the ER about 4:30 Sunday morning - the Decadron couldn't wait any longer. He was actually getting worse, rather than better. On Monday - 24 hrs. after the Decadron shot, he still wasn't any better........ called the pediatrician's office and the nurse said they didn't have any openings and to take him back to the ER. Back to the ER we went. Got a second dose of Decadron AND a 5 day Rx for Prednisolone (liquid steroid) and "call his pediatrician and get him in by the end of the week for a follow up." Went to the pediatrician today and she said since this bout was so different than what he normally experiences, maybe he has allergies and his trachea/vocal cords are aggravated from that and it's what's causing the "croup"- makes sense since Michael and Jacob both have allergies..... Gave us a Rx of Zyrtec to try. Other than that, there's no preventative, we just have to wait until he outgrows it.
I feel so bad for him because I can't make it go away and STAY away. I figured it up, he's averaging every 3 weeks with this nasty stuff. It's horribly uncomfortable for him and it usually only affects him during the night when he should be sleeping. He's such a champ though, he really does try to be in a good mood, but sometimes he just can't take it and just cries and cries and it breaks my heart that I can't make it better. We do the steamy shower and sit outside since it's colder now, but that only provides a little relief for the little guy.....