Table of Contents
- Croup facts
- What is croup? What causes croup?
- Is croup contagious? How does croup spread?
- What is the incubation period for croup?
- What are croup symptoms?
- How is the diagnosis of croup established?
- What is the treatment for croup? Are there home remedies for croup?
- How long is the contagious period for croup?
- What warning signs should parents look for with croup?
- Is it possible to prevent croup?
- What is the prognosis if my child develops croup?
How is the diagnosis of croup established?
The diagnosis of croup is most commonly made by obtaining the characteristic history of sudden-onset of hoarse voice, barky cough, stridor during inhalation, and the possibility of low-grade fever. While the child may appear rather ill, the child does not have a look of pure panic or terror. There can be high fever (> 103 F), sitting forward positioning, and excessive drooling. A recent exposure to another child with croup helps to confirm the diagnosis. Laboratory tests are rarely necessary and are mostly limited to severe situations where concern regarding a secondary bacterial infection may have developed and is superimposed upon the primary viral process. A particular X-ray orientation of the neck will often show a characteristic elongated narrowing of the region called a "steeple sign." Such an X-ray finding is confirmatory for croup. Rarely will consultation with an otolaryngologist (ENT physician) be necessary to have a direct visual examination of the patient's airway. Such a procedure is termed fiberoptic laryngoscopy and is indicated if there is a concern for an anatomical malformation of the upper airway, possible aspiration of a foreign object, or should the child rapidly deteriorate or not respond to routine therapy in the anticipated manner.
Most infants are routinely immunized against the bacteria Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib). When the child is not immunized against Hib, the possibility of a more ominous, deep bacterial infection called epiglottitis exists. Continue Reading