What causes croup? (Other than pertussis)

My last post hit the Internet about 30 minutes before midnight, and we were just packing in to go to bed. Clothes loaded into the washer, R (the DH, or dad – not sure if I’ve used his initial before now, but figure I might as well – at least it’s unique in our household) taking a shower. I was just heading up the stairs, and I heard a high-pitched squealing sound. I ran up the stairs, expecting it to be J, wheezing, as he’d fallen asleep tonight before we could administer his budesonide (steroid) inhaler. But no, it was S, the never-sick-boy, who was supposed to wake up tomorrow healed and ready to enjoy the rest of our vacation.

“I can’t breathe”, he gasped.

It wasn’t wheezing; his airways weren’t tight. It was so clearly croup. I looked in his throat, expecting to see the textbook membranes of diphtheria, but it all looked clear and red, as it had earlier in the evening. He coughed, and drank some water.

I yelled to R that S couldn’t breathe, and we both mobilized into action!

R got dressed, and I got S into his clothes. Never have I hated his new high-top shoes more than tonight, when I had to spend time loosening laces in order to get his feet into them.

“I don’t want a shot”, he begged.

I replied, “I promise there won’t be any shots”.

R yelled at me from the other room “Don’t make that promise to him!”, which resulted in more crying from S. Yes, I probably shouldn’t have promised him no shots, but honestly, I don’t think he’ll have to get a shot (although they may do bloodwork, and that’s just like a shot). So, we scrambled things together, and now, R and S are at an urgent care provider somewhere nearby, and I’m home waiting anxiously, wishing I could do something, and unable to do anything.

J partly woke up in the commotion, and, in his half-awake state, he requested his usual bedtime songs (which he’d missed, by falling to sleep in the car on the way home). So, I sang him “Bah-Bah, Black Sheep”, “Hey, Diddle-Diddle”, and “Three Blind Mice”, until he was solidly back to sleep.

I was reading my friend’s blog-post earlier about her bedtime “litany” with her kids – I love the idea of affirmations, but I’m so happy that my kids (all) want songs. I’m not sure if there is a particularly positive message with the music, but I do believe that there is an empowering and calming quality to song that is important. I my panic about S tonight, I’m not sure that I can write this thought down clearly, but I’ll have to think about it. Maybe a future post on this…

Oh, and the title of this post, i.e. Croup? According to PubmedHealth:

Croup is usually caused by parainfluenza viruses. Other viral infections that can cause croup include RSV, measles, adenovirus, and influenza.

Croup was once a deadly disease caused by diphtheria bacteria. However, modern day antibiotics and immunizations have helped prevent or treat it. Today, most cases of croup are mild. Nevertheless, it can still be dangerous.

So, I’m guessing RSV, or parainfluenza. I wonder if they’ll do a respiratory viral swab. Influenza is less likely, as he got his vaccine two weeks ago.

2 thoughts on “What causes croup? (Other than pertussis)

  1. Janaki says:

    thank you on the sweet compliment.

    so, the funny (and sort of typical) is that Ron never made it to see a doctor with S!! He first got lost (thank goodness for the GPS friend-tracking app on the iPhone, i saw him heading the wrong way and called him to turn him around). then, he got to the doc-in-the-box, which was closed. he headed to the ER, but there was a long line, and he noticed that S was no longer gasping for air.

    so, he brought him home, we opened the window to get some cool air into their room, and gave him a dose of the inhaled budesonide that we've been dosing J with since his recent attack of RAD/asthma.

    i don't know if it's a curse or a blessing to be raised by two doctors!! but, he is much better, and smiling, this morning!!

    today was a planned "no plans" day, along with preparing menu and prep-cooking for Thursday, which we're hosting here in our rental townhouse, so we're not pushing anyone to do anything. here it is almost 10am, and boys are still in their jammies (actually, J got to the naked boy stage, but hasn't moved toward clothing) and watching the Disney channel in our bed. i'm enjoying a little peace and quiet downstairs….

  2. You have a lovely singing voice, though, and I do not. Spoken word is a better choice for me!
    Did S get the oral steroid? For our kids we've found that once croup gets serious, one dose of the steroid is a necessity but also makes a quick dramatic difference. Hope you're all up and doing well and having fun!

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