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What is a croop cough, as opposed to a regular cough?

By December 29, 2008 - 2:34pm
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One of my kids has croup (the cough sounds a bit like a barking seal) as well as a temperature. She got it from my other child who is now fine (after a couple of days).

Is croup more serious than a "chesty" (wet) cough?

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I am not sure if my answer to your question is about which one as more serious but let's give it a shot. I tend to believe that the answer will depend on each case because children react differently to viral infections due to unique responses by their developing immune systems.

Regardless of the type of cough the most important thing is to watch how he is doing throughout the episode. Is he active despite the fever? Is he lethargic? Is breathing a struggle and skin coloring changing? Is fever too high (over 103.5F) and lasting too many days? Is he eating, drinking fluids?

As you probably already know, the symptoms of croup are caused by inflammation, swelling and the buildup of mucus in the larynx, trachea (windpipe) and bronchial tubes which cause a cough that sounds like a barking seal unlike other viral respiratory illnesses. which can cause a dry, wet, or deep cough. Since the croup tends to begin in the middle of the night (symptoms are often better during the day) it will also worsen at night thus causing the child to become anxious or agitated due to his inability to breathe. A quick ten minute steam bath can open up the air ways and many times allows the child to go back to sleep cough free.

The other types of “wet” coughs that you asked about will not be as quick to show up and disappear as croupy coughs. Although both types have a viral trigger and the symptoms express differently, it is not the symptoms that would be of concern as much as the level of activity your child shows, his demeanor, and activity levels. Both coughs will probably manifest with fevers and will last a similar period of time. Chest coughs are probably more limiting for high activity children during the day as oppose to croup since the barking cough tends to disappear during the day.

As a mother of two teens today, I have experienced both types of coughs on my kids. My son was “Mr. Croupy” and at age 12, he still gets them. It may just indicate a weakness in his respiratory system and/or a preference for viruses to attack those parts of his body. My daughter on the other hand used to get more of the chest very productive coughs. At age 15 she has not got sick in many years and I think this is the result of her preference to eat natural healthy foods. I am still working on my son in that area.

December 29, 2008 - 9:47pm
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