C is for Croup

What started as a seemingly mild cough developed into full-on hacking last Saturday. It worsened on Saturday night and I could see that the poor baby was having difficulty trying to breathe properly. Naturally, all 3 of us had a night of fitful sleep. I was consumed by fear that he would stop breathing in the middle of the night and kept jolting awake to check on him. Thanks to Yi Lin’s entry on croup, I had strong suspicions that Elliott may have croup too. This was because he did not have a runny nose, nor a fever – just a very wet and phlegm-y cough that worsened.

We headed to KKH’s children’s emergency department after a quick lunch and it was a short wait before it was our turn at the triage. When the nurse listened to his chest, she informed us that she can hear wheezing and told us to head to “Door 11”.

I carried him while the boy headed to register and to pay consultation fees (I think it was $110).

The secondary waiting area (after triage) was akin to a war zone. There were babies crying, children being wheeled about in wheelchairs, kids looking sad and forlorn, parents looking worried. You get the picture. As I was looking for Door 11, I heard Elliott’s full name being announced over the din.

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I am guessing that Door 11 are for more urgent cases, i.e. breathing difficulties, etc. We barely had to wait before it was our turn.

The kind nurse came by and told us that she will be administering steroids to ‘open up his airways’ and to help him breathe better. And this is his reaction to that piece of information:

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Yes, trying to administer medication down the throat of this boy takes nerves of steel and many many hands. One to carry him, one to hold down his hands (who will be busy swatting away the syringe) and the other to give the medicine. I must have made a face when I heard the word ‘steroid’ because the nurse assured us that it is a crushed pill that has been mixed with syrup so it’s not one full syringe filled with steroids. Okaaay.

We saw the doctor who diagnosed “mild croup”. MUMMY WAS RIGHT! *fist pump* I realise that many parents have never heard of the term ‘croup‘ so I am blogging about it for awareness!

Simply put, croup is “inflammation of the larynx and trachea in children, associated with infection and causing breathing difficulties.” We got attended to so quickly because croup in young children, i.e. below 3 years old, can be life-threatening. Another sign is the “barking cough” or hoarseness. At night (where the coughing/hacking gets worst), Elliott was making a “wheezing” noise at the end of each cough and I could also hear him taking big and loud breaths. Another indication of croup.

I was glad that I had the baby carrier with me. Being sick means that Elliott was being clingy and fussy, and I don’t blame the poor kid. Everytime he goes into a coughing fit, he’d cry and whine. My poor baby.

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We were to stay at KKH for 2 hours so that the nurses can monitor Elliott’s situation after each hour. Medication was given at 12pm so we headed back at 1 pm and 2 pm.

It was time for lunch and we headed to Macs for a quick one. Elliott fell promptly asleep in the carrier (hooray) and thankfully, after both checks, we were given the all clear to head home.

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We collected some paracetamol, liquid Zrytec (to help clear the nose/throat of phlegm) and a nose drip at the pharmacy (also like a warzone) and paid…70 cents (hooray to subsidized medication).

As with most illnesses, the important thing to do is frequent hand washing with soap and water (and not simply splashing your hands with water for 5 seconds). Easier said than done, really, when you have a squirmy baby who much prefer to fling water onto your face and everywhere else, than to have his hands washed (personal experience, yes).

Most importantly, please keep your child away from anyone who has a respiratory infection. Again, this is easier said than done because when you are at a crowded public place, or at a playground, it is hard to tell. This is why all parents/caregivers need to be responsible and keep sick children at home!

Also, if you are sick, please take a rain check on a visit to a friend’s home, especially if he/she has young children. The saying that parents are the most tired when a child is sick holds true. Keep your germs to yourself please, thankyouverymuch.

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Right. End of public service announcement, thank you for reading 🙂 I am also pleased to add that Elliott is on the mend and is back to his happy smiley climb-everywhere self again.

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