Croup is often characterized by a barking cough sound, which resembles the sound produced by seals. This childhood condition is often caused by a virus that often starts from the nose or mouth, and goes down to the vocal cords and windpipe. The affected areas become inflamed, swollen, and sore that stimulate the cough reflex. In addition, a hoarse voice is produced due to the swollen vocal cords.
What Causes Croup?
The parainfluenza virus is the most common type of virus that causes croup. It is the same virus that causes a common cold. That is why the symptoms of croup are almost the same with the cold. Moreover, croup often starts as a common cold. Symptoms of cold such as a runny nose, slight increase in body temperature, and cough are observed first. The child will then be awake in the middle of the night because of a barking cough and difficulty in breathing. This phenomenon could last for a couple of hours.
Children are the ones commonly affected by croup, especially those who are five years old and younger because they have a small and narrow breathing tube. Adults can acquire this illness, but it is very rare. Although croup is highly contagious, almost all cases of croup are mild, and usually go away on its own after a few days.
During the early ages, croup is caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae. This causes serious complications that can harm an infected person. However, with today’s generation, a vaccination for diphtheria has been in use that helps lessen the case of serious croup. Croup can be successfully managed at home by making the child calm and giving lots of fluids.
What Is a Whooping Cough?
On the other hand, whoop is a unique phenomenon of a whooping cough, also known as pertussis. Pertussis means a complete, thorough cough. Similar with croup, pertussis is also very contagious. However, unlike croup, pertussis is caused by a bacterial infection with its causative agent Bordetella pertussis. Whooping cough affects the larynx, lungs, and bronchial tubes.
The early symptoms of pertussis are the same with the common cold that include sneezing, runny nose, and a mild cough that lasts for about two weeks. On the third week, the classic whooping cough begins. The cough is usually dry, which means there are no mucous present. As the condition progresses, the individual will develop difficulty breathing particularly during inspiration. This stage could last for more than 6 weeks. When the cough becomes so severe, it causes intense pressure in the body. Eye hemorrhages, vomiting, rib fractures, fainting, and brain injuries can result from the increased pressure.
Treatments for whooping cough include hydration, giving of acetaminophen or ibuprofen, and rest. Once the child has contracted the illness, immediate medical attention is needed as antibiotics will be prescribed by the physician. When antibiotics are given when the cough has already emerged, the antibiotics will only help the person to be less infectious, but will not be able to shorten the duration of the condition.
A vaccine against whooping cough is now given to prevent this illness. It is usually given to children while they are still young. Whooping cough can be deadly to infants. That is why at an early age, the administration of the vaccine is highly recommended. Keep your babies away from individuals with this kind of condition.