Mum’s Frightening Experience With Croup: ‘My Baby Was Struggling To Breathe’

This mum knew something wasn’t right when her daughter Hannah’s ‘cold’ began to sound more sinister.

Kaylah Voltz, a member of our Healthy Mummy community, says: “I noticed Hannah was breathing fast and working hard to breathe. I took her to the hospital, where they immediately took us off to a bed in emergency.”

After a series of tests, the doctors confirmed Hannah had fluid in her lower right lung.

hannah hspital
Hannah had fluid on her left lung. Source: Supplied

“They gave her an antibiotic shot and sent us up to the paediatric ward. Her blood and other checks confirmed she had croup and adenovirus,” Kaylah says.

Adenovirus is an infection of the respiratory system that affects children. It accounts for around 10 per cent of acute respiratory infections, according to Kids Health.

Hannah was put on oxygen. Source: Supplied
Source: Supplied

“As both are viral, there was no real treatment. But her oxygen levels were low, so they kept her on oxygen to help her breathe and placed a nasogastric (NG) tube in her, as she would not eat,” says Kaylah.

Hannah was born premature at 35 weeks and suffered from gastrointestinal and lung issues at birth, so doctors kept her in another night to monitor her.

Hannah Croup
Hannah was able to feed again. Source: Supplied

“Hannah started to become interested in letting me nurse her and was able to go for longer periods without needing her oxygen.

“After a final doctor’s check we were allowed to go home. The next day she had her follow up check and was cleared of both croup and adenovirus.”

Hannah better
Hannah is now feeling better. Source: Supplied

We’re glad to hear that Hannah is feeling better! What a scary experience.

What Is Croup?

Croup is extremely common in young children and is an inflammation of the windpipes. It’s usually more common in winter. Your baby’s cough may sound harsh, almost like a bark and their breathing may be heavy and noisy.

Dr Mark McGrath, a Brisbane-based GP at Kenmore Family Medical Practice, tells The Healthy MummyCroup is a common condition that occurs in young children under six years of age, usually between six to 36 months.

Croup occurs when children suffer one of the many common viral infections which can cause a sore throat (pharyngitis), a hoarse voice (laryngitis) and a chesty cough (bronchitis).

“In some children, because their airways are slightly narrower than adults, the mild swelling that occurs with these viruses can affect the way air flows in and out of the lungs, resulting in breathing difficulties known as croup.  The condition can range from mild noisy breathing and a hollow noise with coughing (‘seal-bark cough’) to more severe breathing difficulties.

“These breathing problems tend to occur late at night, which make them even more frightening for parents who have never met this problem.”

Signs of croup:

  • A hoarse cough
  • The skin between the ribs and under the breastbone gets sucked in as they breathe
  • Your baby’s nostrils flare
  • Your little one will feel restless
  • Trouble feeding and drinking
  • Noisy breathing

“Signs your child may be in danger include noticing they’re breathing more rapidly than usual, using extra neck and chest muscles to breathe and making a loud noise while breathing,” says Dr. McGrath.

“Sometimes you may notice the skin between their ribs getting sucked in or their face or hands look pale or blue. These are signs that your child is unable to breathe properly and needs urgent medical assistance. In this case, you should keep your child calm, take them to a children’s hospital if you feel it is safe to do so or immediately call an ambulance.”

However, for milder cases Dr. McGrath says to keep your child calm and take them to your GP.

“Humidified air (steam bath or vaporiser) used to be a recommendation,” he says. “While such treatment is not harmful, the research suggests it is not beneficial. You may find humidified air helpful in calming your child in which case use it.

“The treatment for croup usually involves a three-day course of oral steroids to help settle the inflamed airway to allow your child to breathe easier while their immune system combats the virus.”

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