A couple of weeks back, Hannah suddenly awoke in the night, coughing really badly. She was completely all right when she went to bed, and we were very surprised that she had suddenly developed a cough.
Her cough was very forceful and in between coughs, it sounded as though she was drawing in a lot of air, and trying very hard to breathe. It wasn’t asthmatic wheezing, that I know for sure, having suffered that for a few years of my childhood, but rather, it felt like she was trying to clear something in her throat. The sound of her cough was similar to that of a barking seal.
I suspected she had croup, because the “barking seal” cough was a dead characteristic giveaway. Croup is a respiratory condition caused by acute viral infection of the upper airway. Upon checking my favorite childcare book by Dr Miriam Stoppard, I confirmed my suspicions. The forcefulness of her cough made her throw up a few times that night too, and in the end, I carried her over my shoulder instead and patted her back to sleep.
The following morning, she seemed all right, with just a slight cough, but no “barking seal” syndrome. I called up the pediatrician, who advised us to monitor her condition that day, since it sounded like a mild case of croup. We weren’t really fans of going to the hospital, so we monitored and prayed that it would all be okay. And we were glad that she recovered soon after. As always, I have to say it must have been some of the breast milk that helped the recovery
Anyway, it was our first experience handling a child with croup (pronounced “kroop”), and we learnt a few things from it:
- Croup will come suddenly without any warning. A child who seems okay might suddenly wake up at night with croup.
- Croup attacks usually occur at night, but are thankfully shortlived.
- Air-conditioning should be turned off to reduce the dryness in the air that may cause a dry throat that could bring on the croup attack. To make the air around Hannah moist and damp, I placed a bowl of water under the bed. Dr Miriam Stoppard also suggests bringing the child into the bathroom and turning on the tap.
- A child suffering from croup that causes vomitting due to forceful cough should not be fed anything. I learnt this the hard way
- If it is mild, the condition can be monitored at home. After all, croup is a viral infection and antibiotics is not needed to cure it.
- In any case, call the doctor to check for what needs to be done.
She’s okay now, and I really do hope the attacks won’t come again. *prays hard*