View Full Version : UPDATE: DS has the croup! (long)
11-19-2005, 04:32 PM
DH and I sat next to the monitor listening to DS's horrible breathing and going to soothe him every 30-45 minutes when he would wake up coughing. Eventually, we decided we should take him to the ER just to find out if he needed more than home remedies. I couldn't diagnose whether or not he had stridor since I've never heard it before.
We got to the pediatric ER around midnight. They saw us quickly after we arrived. All of the nurses flocked around him, saying how cute he was and how content he seemed despite definitely having the croup. The ped on call examined him and said he most certainly had stridor and prescribed steroids by mouth and a nebulizer treatment of epinephrin. He took the medicine like a champ but struggled a bit with the epi treatment. They had to observe him for an hour after the epi because sometimes the swelling returns. They called it 'rebound'. Around 1:45am the ped checked him and said he was rebounding. She checked him again after fifteen more minutes and decided to admit him overnight for observation.
DH went home around 3am to get some stuff for us (we hadn't planned on staying at the ER). More than two hours later, he hadn't returned and I was starting to panic because we're less than 20 minutes from the hospital. My nurse called my house and DH had apparently been too tired to drive back and decided to stay home to nap awhile. I was relieved that he hadn't been in an accident but absolutely furious that he had left me at the hospital with a sick baby hooked up to tubes and wires and didn't bother to call and let me know he wouldn't be back for a bit. DH finally waltzed in just before 9am and was completely taken aback that I was upset. It didn't help matters that I hadn't gotten a single wink of sleep because Luke was in bed with me and his breathing was so loud that I couldn't help but be conscious of it. DH got several hours of sleep AND a shower, so I was really ticked off. There was a lot of crying involved - on my part and Luke's (he didn't get much sleep either).
Around 10:30am, Luke's breathing was sounding better, so I sent DH off to ask about discharging us. A half-hour later we were on our way home. Luke has napped sporadically and poorly, so he's super fussy right now. Not that I blame him...poor baby. I'm hopeful that he'll get a good night's rest tonight and tomorrow will be a much better day. I've been up now for about 32 hours so I'm hoping for some sleep myself. ;) Thanks to everyone who responded with stories, advice and support. It meant so much to a worried mama. Thanks for listening!
I did a search already so I read all the stuff on humidifiers, running the shower, walks outside in cool air, elevating DS's mattress, etc. But I still have a couple of questions.
My baby medical book says specifically to use a humidifier rather than a vaporizer. DH and I went out and bought one, but I'm just curious about what the difference is.
Also, the medical book says that we're supposed to sit up with him all night and monitor his breathing. If your DC had the croup, did you do that? Why or why not? We're going to the ped on Monday, unless things worsen and I have to take him to the ER.
Thanks for any insight.
11-19-2005, 04:59 PM
Oh Erica! I am so sorry that Luke is sick!
I *think* the difference between humidifiers and vaporizors is the heat factor.
Someone else may be able to elaborate.
DD hasn't had croup so I can't help you with your other question.
I really hope Luke is feeling better really soon though!!
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11-19-2005, 05:04 PM
I always use warm mist, which my ped says works better than cold mist, but because of the risk of burns from the hot steam,she has to recommend cool mist.
When my kids get croup, I always take them right in for steroids. Usually about 48 hours on steroids (like 3 doses) and they're fine again. :D
11-19-2005, 05:05 PM
Vaporizers use heat while humidifiers are cool mist. DD had croup and I took her to the after hours ped clinic since it was a weekend. As soon as I noticed the croupy sound, I took her. They gave her Decadron which decreases the inflammation. She was better in just a couple of hours and the croup was gone in a couple of days. I did use the humidifier and checked her at night, but didn't feel like I had to sit up with her since she had the Decadron. By the time she went to bed that night, it was significantly better.
Croup can be scary and I would advise that you see the ped if it's not better. The concern is that the airway gets too swollen for good oxygen exchange.
Do you have a walk-in ped clinic near you? I would suggest that over the ER any day!
11-19-2005, 05:06 PM
DS1 had the croup around 6 mo and the ped gave him some sort of steroid shot. The only advice we got was to use a humidifier and stand in a steamy bathroom. We didn't "monitor" his breathing, you could hear the kid a mile away. After a few days it was gone. All we got was that one shot and I kept him by the humi or in the bayhroom, that was it. Our ped said it was a bad enough to get the shot, but not so bad that I had to give him any breathing treatments. I guess if it seems like DS is having trouble breathing I'd take him in, if not a humi should be good till Mon.
11-19-2005, 05:19 PM
Thanks for the responses! I don't have a walk-in after-hours ped clinic nearby that I'm aware of, but I will double check the phone book. Does anyone know if putting eucalyptus oil in the humidifier will damage it? I saw that as a suggestion when I searched and wasn't sure if it was hard on the humidifiers. Jeez...there is so much to know with these kiddos!
11-19-2005, 05:22 PM
that sucks! i'd call your ped's after hour # and ask for his advice - croup can get dicey.
11-19-2005, 06:12 PM
Oh, how awful. We went through this with Jack at 9 months. Actually, COLD air is better than hot air if they are having a hard time breathing. If you are somewhere cold, bundle him up and take him outside for a few minutes.
You need to seek immediate medical attention (the ER) if Lucas is really struggling. You'll know--if his breathing sounds labored and you see the skin around his ribs actually sucking in (or"retracting"), then he's struggling too hard. When Jack got like this, he literally could not cry out or make any sound. I'm not sure that happens with every kid, though.
If you have a good baby monitor, I wouldn't think you need to sit up with him. But you could sleep in his room just to make sure.
Let us know how he does, poor little guy. Jack actually wound up needing a shot of epi. (ETA: maybe it was a steroid shot--I having a really tired night and can't remember).
11-19-2005, 07:17 PM
DS is 6 months old and already had croup twice! First time we were on Vacation in Canada. Second time was about 2 weeks ago. What they need to feel better is COLD and HUMID air. If he starts sounding bad, you can take him for a walk outside, the cold air does wonders. I dress him really warm at night, do not turn on the heater in his room (so it gets pretty cold) and run the humidifier. If he really has difficulties, you can hold him and open the freezer door! here is some really cold and wet air for you. If he starts "barking" take him to the ER.
When we were in Canada, the ER doctor told me that croup sounds worse than it really is. Of course I wanted to kill him. But now, after our second round of croup, I have to admit he was right. Oh, and also, I was really depressed when he got the steroids the first time (we managed without it the second time, it was a milder episode) but I have to admit it REALLY helps.
11-19-2005, 09:17 PM
Steroids will reduce the severity and duration of the croup. we've never had it (knock on wood), but that will be the first thing on my list if we do.
11-19-2005, 10:20 PM
>You need to seek immediate medical attention (the ER) if Lucas
>is really struggling. You'll know--if his breathing sounds
>labored and you see the skin around his ribs actually sucking
>in (or"retracting"), then he's struggling too hard. When Jack
>got like this, he literally could not cry out or make any
>sound. I'm not sure that happens with every kid, though.
I think that's what I'm most afraid of...that he'll stop breathing and I won't hear it in time. I have a video monitor normally (cameras are on the wall over his crib) but DH and I added an audio monitor and put the mic part on his crib (he can't reach it) for extra help. I have it turned up really loud and can hear his raspy breathing right now.
Ugh, this sucks! I feel so helpless despite all the stuff I've been doing for him. I have a feeling I'm in for a few sleepless nights...
Thanks for the reply. :)
11-19-2005, 10:25 PM
> If he starts "barking" take him to the
He 'barks' when he coughs, which is occasional at the moment. He does it also when he gets upset and starts crying, but we've managed to keep that to a minimum so far. When he speaks (babbles) it sounds raspy and somewhat wheezy, but there's not much barking involved. Do you still think I need to take him to the ER?
11-19-2005, 10:28 PM
" feel so helpless despite all the stuff I've been doing for him."
I have no experience with croup, but just wanted to offer some support. The sentence above summs up how I felt about my DS's health: when he went on to have one ear infection after another in the first year of life, I was so upset, "After all I've done! I'm killing myself pumping to breastfeed him, etc". But their little bodies, just like the little minds, have plans of their own, and it does not reflect on us at all!!
To this day, most nights DS has a vaporiser running in his room. I blame DH's bad genes :)
Your babe will get better soon!! This too shall pass, mama!!
11-19-2005, 10:29 PM
Thanks, Eri. :)
11-19-2005, 10:30 PM
11-19-2005, 10:57 PM
Does anyone know at what point DS will not be contagious anymore? Is croup spread from contact with infected toys or only by touching another person with the virus? How long does the virus live when not in a host (on toys and other surfaces)? Do I disinfect everything he has touched and if so, when?
ETA: A few things I've read have said differing things about stridor. Is it when their breathing is 'squeaky' or when it's just noisy? Because his breathing is definitely noisy - sounds like faint snoring. Everything I read said stridor is reason enough to head to the ER, so I really need to get an accurate definition!!!
11-19-2005, 11:04 PM
Personally, I would hate to go to the ER. You will sit there with a sick, tired baby for way too long. Does your ped have an after hours number that you can call for input? They can probably tell you more accurately whether or not you should go.
The barking cough is typical with croup and is the primary symptom. It's caused by inflammation of the upper airway. That is probably why cold air helps as it reduces some of the swelling. Warm air would increase swelling. You will know if he is having more difficulty breathing before it got to the point of not breathing. The airway constricts and you would hear a high pitched noise when he tries to breathe in. That is stridor. Think of how a balloon sounds when you stetch the opening to let the air out slowly and get that high pitched squeak. This would definitely be an emergency.
Here is a link with some info that might help you feel better or know whether or not you should go to the ER. I know you've done a search, but this seems to have some answers to your questions, esp. at the bottom - "When to call the doctor".
I don't like the idea of steroids, but it reduces the inflammation and they need only one rather small dose. I can tell you that I was quite relieved when DD had the Decadron and was better in no time. We all slept better as a result.
My motto is go with your gut. Whenever I feel that instinct kick in, I follow it. Only once was I wrong and every other time I was right in my decisions. Even when it took the LC to figure out that DD had milk protein intolerance after 6 weeks of trips to the ped with no answers other than "it's colic." I knew something was wrong and once again, I was right. If you think you should go to the ER, do what will make you comfortable and secure. If you can call your ped and feel reassured, then follow that feeling.
Good Luck and let us know how he is doing.
11-19-2005, 11:21 PM
Oh mama, I'm sorry. Croup is scary, especially for the first time . My DS had it over the winter last year right before he turned a year old. He was pretty much okay during the day but he was very wheezy at night and he had the seal bark. He was able to sleep okay if I sat up with him and he rested on my chest semi-reclined but pretty upright.
It was around Christmas time and we spent a lot of time walking around in our development looking at all of the holiday decorations and lights. He did much better out in the cool air, which I know you already have read. One night it was even foggy/'misty but that seemed to be even more helpful because I guess the air was humid.
We did end up going into the doc and we got steroids. I'm a pretty natural mama but it was just too scary otherwise for me. He took like 2-3 doses and that was it. The croup was scary but didn't last long at all. I think I remembered looking something up about it that said when it seems at its worst, it may be on its way out of their system.
We just used a vaporizer because that's what we had. We did do a lot of time in the bathtub after steaming up the bathroom with the shower. We would let DS play in the tub for 2 hours at a time because it helped so much. We just kept replenishing the water, and taking him out to resteam up the bathroom using the shower.
Oh, it is so not fun. I'm not looking forward to going through it ever again...
He'll get through it and so will you. It is just scary in the meantime. I wouldn't try to stay up non stop with him if he's resting okay. I'd be close but DS breathed so loudly when he was having problems it was obvious. He would cosleep until it got bad (and I knew right away since I was next to him) and then I'd sit downstairs with him on the sofa with me just a bit reclined which gave him relief and I got a chance to nap a bit.
11-19-2005, 11:25 PM
Well, I'm not a doctor. I now remember they also told me to look at his chest, and if you see his diaphragm going in and out with his breathing, that means he has difficulties breathing, which means he needs immediate help. Just keep a close eye on him, hopefully the croup will be gone in a few days and you'll be left with just a regular cold...
11-20-2005, 10:29 AM
Audrey's had croup twice--the first time, she was about 8 months old, and it was really mild--she had that bark-y cough, but that was it, and after we put her in a steamy bathroom, she was pretty much fine.
A couple of months ago, Audrey got croup again. This time, it was really severe. Long story short, she had really bad stridor (that's the wheezing) and we ended up having to go to the ER, where she got a steroid shot. It was a little scary hearing her struggle to breathe the way she did.
I agree that you want to sleep pretty near your DS so you can hear his breathing. If it sounds labored, take him outside for some fresh air. Things will improve dramatically once you do this. I noticed that when Audrey and I went to the ER, her breathing improved as soon as we got outside.
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