So I'm hearing that croup is EVERYWHERE. And by everywhere I mean I HAVE IT TOO. What the? The good news is croup in an adult just looks like a very horrendous cold. I suppose I could just have a horrendous cold. But considering the fact that I had children sneezing and coughing directly in my face for four days, I'd say odds are croup.
Croup is an infection of the respiratory system that is particularly uncool in that the windpipe gets all swollen. Kids have already small windpipes to begin with, so in addition to sneezing and runny noses and essentially wallowing in misery, they can't breathe and will likely wheeze or "bark." (It sounds kind of frightening sometimes, like they can't get air, because, well...they can't.) In tough, big kids, it's generally okay. In tiny or delicate kids, it can be serious. The older the kid, the quicker the recovery. Annabelle was done in like two days. Lou's going on four miserable days. So I thought I'd compile a handy list on what we've learned from croup this past week:
1. Just accept that you're all going to wallow for a while. Movies are acceptable. Sometimes all day. When that poor baby is just moaning in sickness, movies that make her happy win every time.
2. Just accept you won't sleep. Maybe ever again. Oh. My. Gosh.
3. So here's what I learned about fevers and medications for kids (from my pediatrician, who is 36 and his wife is pregnant with their EIGHTH CHILD, I know). Best two pieces of advice I've had in a long time. Take it or leave it. I'm actually taking and running with it.
- There isn't a magic temperature that should send you to the ER. When your baby is really hot, but you're medicating, you're probably safe to stay home. When your baby is really hot, you're medicating, and they're like glazed over or not responsive, get to the ER.
- Tylenol is basically only good for fevers. That said, don't rely on it for fevers. Use Ibuprofen first. Ibuprofen is way more effective AND it relieves pain, which your baby is likely experiencing a fair amount of as well. If your baby has a fever, start them on Ibuprofen every six hours. If they start to spike towards the end of that six hours, give them a dose of Tylenol too. The drugs don't co-mingle. You don't need to create a chart and a whacked out schedule to medicate (I totally did this). They can even be given simultaneously if you need to. (If your baby is under six months, don't use Ibuprofen. If your baby is under six months and has croup, go to the doc now.)
4. Humidifiers are awesome. Every croupy kid needs one. Cold, humid air. Win-win. I also tracked down a VapoRub Pediatric plug-in thing that warms up Vapo fumes in the room. Also awesome.
5. If in the middle of night, your kid starts to wheeze so bad, it becomes frightening, take them out in the cold air. It opens that windpipe right up. Just be sure to bundle them up otherwise.
Mostly, I think croup is the most awful cold and flu season disease ever. The flu is even easier as it comes and goes. Croup lingers longer.
So to anyone welcoming croup to their family, I hope some or any of this helps. And let's all just believe that we will someday sleep again? Right?