After waking at 4:00 am with Lila on Friday morning, and not able to go back to sleep, I worked the HEAT vs. Mavs game. After being awake 19+ hours, I got to bed at 11:30. woo hoo! Early game for me. Then it happened. At 1:00AM it sounded like a seal had escaped the Miami Seaquarium and was bunking with my baby. Emylia had a barking horrific cough, and a super high fever. When I got her settled and tried to get her back to sleep, she started wheezing. Not just a little either, her breathing seemed labored, and she was really pale.I thought after vaccinating both kids from influenza this year, that it would be smooth sailing on the sick front. After all, it IS Lila’s second year at preschool, and things have been relatively quiet so far. Only a couple sniffles…until last month. My 4 1/2 year old came down with a sinus infection, which turned into bronchitis, and then finally pneumonia. She’s finally almost better, and thankfully sleeping through the night again…until this past Friday night.
I was so tired and bleary eyed I didn’t even think to grab my phone and google croup. With my husband out of town, I instinctively thought to go to the hospital. After her febrile seizures last year I didn’t want to take any chances. But after giving it more thought, I tried a steam shower. Thankfully, within ten minutes her breathing was better, and the wheezing gone. I put her in bed with me though, because I was concerned her wheezing would return. The pediatrician confirmed croup on Saturday morning, and prescribed steroids for her swollen larynx.
Croup is basically an infection of the larynx, trachea, and bronchial tubes usually caused by a virus. It’s contagious for the first few days, and is usually accompanied by fever. It’s common for kids to catch between 6 months old and 3 years, and presents with a barking cough, and a raspy breathing sounds called stridor. The vocal cords swell and narrow the airway, so children with croup needs to have their monitored closely, especially at night. Parents need lots of patience, because poor sleeping plus sick child equals grumpy days. This is what the cough sounds like if you’re not sure your child has croup. Here are a few things I’ve learned to help deal with this illness, and also, to help keep parents sane through the tedious and tiring process of caring for our sick children.
- MUST Have Humidifier–Always nap and sleep the child with cool mist humidifier.
- Sleep Upright–Try to sleep them upright to limit coughing if congested in the nasal passages. If still sleeping in a crib, try putting a blanket or pillow under the mattress to elevate. With an older child in a bed, use several pillows to help them sleep a little more upright.
- Soft Foods–Eating is tough for them, especially with sore throats. Try soups, broths, smoothies, juicing, mashed sweet potatoes or other soft food, and lots of fluids. You can even make your own electrolyte drink; 6-8 oz water, 1 tsp elderberry syrup, and a pinch of sea salt.
- NO Cough Syrup–Don’t use over the counter cough meds, just ibuprofen or acetaminophen for fever.
- New Toys Help!–When picking up prescriptions at the pharmacy, also pick up a new coloring book or a new small toy. This can keep them busy for a few hours when the television loses appeal. It’s amazing how a small toy can make them so happy! I bought Emy & Lila Palace Pets for $5.99, kept them busy all afternoon.
- Close Sleep Monitoring–Make sure you check them frequently while sleeping if they are wheezing. Air passages can close in rare cases.
- Simple Meals–Buy lots of precooked foods for the rest of your family. Fresh Market was my best friend this weekend!
- Sleep!–Seriously remember when they were newborns? Sleep when your child sleeps. You need the zzzzz’s just as much as they do. Don’t forget to take care of yourself!
Good luck this flu season!
best bassinet says
I am a mom of 3 kids and always worry about the care of my younger one, you have shared some awesome tips for children.
Monika Wrobel says
It’s really a helpful post, Just awesome to know.Wish you all the best.Thanks for sharing such an effective post.
We went through all of this with our youngest. However, don’t dismiss acid reflux! When you Google all these symptoms at 1:00 AM, acid reflux is at the bottom of the list because it’s covered up by croup results. Our youngest definitely had croup a few times, but it wasn’t until I finally came across the right search results that we got some relief. You’ve all probably had the same thoughts. “He was fine when he went to bed!” “She just had croup last week!” “What’s going on?” “He doesn’t even have a runny nose!” If you’re tired of pediatricians rolling their eyes at you and telling you it’s normal, ask them about acid reflux. Specifically, we were prescribed Ranitidine (childern’s antacid). It made a huge difference. Sleep. Oh, sweet sleep. This was after a year of useless cough medicine and other medications. Allergist: “Well, he’s not allergic to anything, but here’s a bunch of allergy medication.” What? If all this sounds familiar, think about acid reflux. It’s not something we even had to give him everyday. Just a handful of times when he’d walk downstairs with the seal cough. We’d give it to him for a few days and he’d be fine. That seal cough used to indicate a coming week of no sleep for anyone. Now, this is not to say they won’t get croup or other sinus infections and it’s honestly hard to tell the difference sometimes. The light at the end of the tunnel is they do grow older and they’re easier to work with. I know that’s not comforting at 1:00 AM, which is when you’re probably reading this, but our 2 year old is a 5 year old now and the situation is much better. Good luck!