In all my years as a parent the most frightening thing night happened last Friday. My daughter woke up at 12am struggling to breathe, with a horrible barking cough, a strange high pitched noise when trying to take a breath, blue around the lips and a look of pure panic in her eyes that absolutely broke my heart.
I had put her to bed as normal, she had a bit of a cough/cold but that’s nothing unusual for a 3 year old whose brother brings all sorts of bugs home from school. I was aware of her waking up so went into her expecting her to be acting up to be faced with her in total distress. Subconciously I must have thought croup or the like as I thought about putting the shower on hot to make steam. I felt as though this wasn’t really going to help quickly enough and for a second thought about ringing an ambulance but decided it would be quicker just to get in the car and drive her to A+E. Jon jumped in the back and reassured her all the way there. He was brilliant, inside I was panicking and just managed to keep it under control.
Once at hospital in all fairness despite it being a Friday night and the waiting room having several lads in it that had had a bit of a punch up they took her straight through to triage where they decided straightaway that it was Croup and they would give her steroids called Dexamethasone to reduce the swelling in her airways. They said they would then monitor her for 2 hours to see if she improved before sending us home which I have to say I was pleased about as I was worried about what would happen if we were just sent home. I was so relieved when her breathing got easier a lot quicker and whilst she was still barking she was a lot calmer and even managed to sleep for a bit. After a total of about 3 hours she was allowed to go home but they advised us to take her straight back down if her condition worsened again. I slept on an airbed next to her as I was still worried about her. 4 days on she is well on the mend all she has is a bit of a cough but is definitely getting back to her mischievous self!
Taken from the NHS Choices website here are the typical symptoms of Croup:
- a bark-like cough
- a hoarse or croaky voice
- difficulty breathing
- a harsh grating sound when breathing in, called stridor
Croup can usually be diagnosed by a GP and mild cases can be treated at home.
However, seek immediate medical attention if your child has any of the following symptoms:
- severe breathing difficulties
- an increased breathing rate (they’re too breathless to feed or talk) or ‘silent chest’ (you’re unable to hear sounds of breathing)
- a worsening cough or rasping sound (stridor)
- distress and agitation
- dark, blue-tinged or pale skin
- the skin around their ribs and chest appears to be pulled in and tight, making the bones of their chest and ribs more visible
- abnormal drowsiness and sleepiness
- a rapid heartbeat or a falling heart rate
- a very high temperature
- an inability to drink fluids
My daughter went on to have it twice more at cough/cold season but thankfully has now grown out of it aged 7.