We have a croup situation going on in our house right now. When I put Annie down for bed on Tuesday night, she had a hoarse voice. I commented on how cute it was, but didn’t think much more of it. She never stops talking so it wasn’t outside the realm of possibility that she’d talked herself hoarse.
Then, at 3:00 am, the coughing started.
Maddie never had croup, and Annie has never had it before, yet I knew instantly based on the sound of that cough. It’s so distinctive and sounds so much like a barking seal that Rigby started growling. Mike and I took turns going into her room all night, and it sucked (though we definitely shared a high five over her new bed being big enough to lay in with her). Breathing things always take me back to Maddie’s respiratory issues. Thank goodness Maddie never got croup.
The difference of course is that not only does Annie have otherwise healthy lungs, but she can also tell me what feels bad. This is an awesome new development. While I was next to her rubbing her head, she said, “Mama, I have a cough and it hurts my chest and belly.” So sad and cute, but strangely comforting to me. I feel like I can handle things when she can articulate what’s wrong.
I emailed Dr. Looove at 6:30 am and she emailed me back less than two hours later. She is so awesome. I say that all the time but it’s true. She told me to keep Annie hydrated and to use a humidifier if I had one (I didn’t, but I bought one). She also listed a few more serious symptoms to look out for, and to bring Annie in if we saw them. Otherwise, she said croup lasts about five days and gets a bit worse before it gets better. Oh, and she said that it’s always worse at night.
I think croup should be renamed “The Annabel Spohr” because if there was ever an illness made for her, it’s this. She feels fine during the day so she can play and go about her Annie business, but at night she coughs and gets lots of attention. It’s seriously her dream situation (other than the feeling crappy part). At one point yesterday she was being a bit naughty and I got stern with her. She looked at me and said, “Remember, I don’t feel good.” A master manipulator at age two.
It’s taken me a couple hours to write this post because Annie keeps having coughing attacks. Poor little buddy. I’m going to go crawl into bed with her and try to make her feel better.
I hope she feels better soon. I feel for you. My daughter didn’t get croup for the first time until she was 3 1/2. We went to the emergency room because she didn’t know what it was. Fortunately for us, it usually only lasts 1 night. It happens to her once every few months. When I hear that hoarse voice I know we’re in for a long night. Once she starts coughing we get her into a steamy bathroom until the coughing subsides. It helps tremendously. It usually takes about 30-45 in the bathroom. Then we keep her up for a bit and have her sit right next to the humidifier to breathe it in while she watches tv or a movie. It makes for a looooong night. I hope Annie feels better soon. Hang in there.
OMG lol at Annie the Manipulator!
Welcome to the next 20 years of your life. Even now, at 30, I am WAY more sick with someone close to me than if I am alone. Somehow I manage to make food and take the dog outside all by myself, but if someone deigns to take care of me? Forget about it!
Awe. Poor kiddo.
When my daughter had croup, I set up the humidifier in her room. But about 30 mins before bed, I turned the shower on in the bathroom (HOT) full blast (not just the bathtub faucet, but the shower head) and shut the door. The steam fills the bathroom. I let her “draw” on the mirror (finger wiping away the steam) to keep her occupied. It helped sooo much. We both got about a solid 4 hrs of sleep before the cough started up again. Good luck and hope you feel better quickly Annie!
Feel better Annie! That seal like cough always makes me panic. Hope she feels better soon and that you and Mike can get some sleep. Take care.
I have found that taking them into the bathroom, closing the door, and running the tub on the hottest setting so that the bathroom fills with warm steam also helps with croup. This helped my kids especially when the croup was at its worst and the humidifier didnt seem to help.
My older daughter got croup a lot. The humidifier made a difference. Sleeping slightly upright (her bed was against a wall and we’d build up a bunch of pillows and have her sleep kind of diagonally in the corner) made a difference. Taking her into a steamy bathroom made a difference. But the ONE thing that stopped a coughing fit every time was carrying her outside–especially if it was cool or cold.
I don’t know why it worked–whether it was the fresh air or the sudden change in temperature or that the shock of getting carried outside in the middle of the night focused her attention on something other than the spasms causing the coughing but it never ever failed to stop the coughing.
Good luck. Enjoy the sweet extra time with Annie and I hope she’s back to 100% soon!
Ami G says:
It is the moisture in the air, outside at night, that causes the coughing to stop. Using a steamy bathroom also helps. Hope you don’t have too many really long nights.
Both my boys get bad croup with every cold since about 10 mos old. We were always told to take them out into the cool air for about 10 minutes at a time….cold shrinks the vocal cords back down to normal. Because kids have smaller vocal cords and airways, it doesn’t take a lot for them to swell up and cause croup. If its warm out them we open the freezer door and let them breathe the cold air from there. Freezies/Popsicles also work pretty good and are welcomed more than a trip outside in the cold Canadian winters! I also put a big pillow under the mattress at the head of the bed of my youngest when he’s stuffy to elevate his head, this way he doesn’t fall off the piled up pillows and it’s more comfortable. One dr. told me that they usually outgrow this by 5 years old….my oldest is turning 8 in a couple of weeks and still gets it. Hope ths isn’t the case for Annie and she starts feeling better soon. Croup isn’t fun for anyone!
So sorry she (and you and Mike) are going through this. I actually got croup when I was in college — my doctor had never seen it in an adult. It was awful — I would take mono over it any day because it was all the throat/chest pain of mono but without the extreme exhaustion/lack of coughing that allows you to sleep. The best thing to do is what others have said, hydrate, popsicles, and run the tub super hot and hang out in there with the door closed. Good luck and hope she’s on the up and up soon!
Steam from the shower helps a lot, as does sleeping on an incline, like a recliner.
Good luck. Hope that cute little diva-in-the-making gets better soon.
I absolutely adore her. Lol, “Remember, I don’t feel good.” hahaha. I think you and Mike are in serious trouble with this kid! In a good way.
Feel better soon, Annie!
Oh….poor Annie and poor you guys. Our son has had croup a couple of times (He’s 3) and it’s scary. All the suggestions above have helped us too…if she continues to have issues, please make sure Dr. Loove prescribe you a nebulizer (if you don’t have one already). Although I hate having to use it, we can prevent many of the respiratory issues our son has had in the past few winters. It feels good to have the tools at your disposal when you need them. Good luck!
I agree that having a child tell you what’s wrong is wonderful! So empowering to know and not have to guess. Though, with croup, they don’t have to say a word!
Kristen @ The Chronicles of Dutch says:
Dealing with it in our house right now too. The cough sounds so ugly! Feel better Annie!
My son used to get this annually. Taking him outside at night helped immediately. Then I’d get Tylenol into him and by the time we got back to bed his lungs had opened. Good luck!
When my kid had croup, I actually fell asleep with her in the bathroom with the hot shower running to steam up the air. Pathetic. Hope she feels better quickly!
There is nothing worse than that horrible croupy sounding cough. Mea still gets croup at 6! I didn’t think it went on that long, but it can.
Cool air also can help relieve the coughing, and their airways. If it’s cooler outside than it is in, just taking her out for a minute can help.
Our four year old has had a few croup spells and we now have our routine down to a science. The steam shower scares her, so we head straight outside if it’s cold (or even just cool). Her last spell was in July, so instead, we sit in front of the freezer with the door open for 5-10 minutes, so she can breath in the cold air. It works wonders. We keep her wrapped in a blanket, so she doesn’t get too cold. Also, we give her as many popsicles (the small juice flavor kind) as she will eat. The cold ice helps her throat and clears her cough. We sit up on the couch with her and let her watch cartoons for a while and eventually, go back to bed with her and let her fall asleep propped up on pillows. Works like a charm.
Heather, She should be over the worse of it. From our experience te first night is usually the worst. The first time my son had it, it scared te hell out of me. He’d been perfectly healthy, no sign of cold or cough. I always check on my kids before I go to bed. Went into his room and heard him struggling to breathe(still not coughing). I scooped him up and ran him to our bathroom and turned on the shower for steam. He started barking at that point and breathing got worse. I grabbed my keys and ran him out to the car and drove him to emergency(the hospital is literally a few blocks away). I had all the windows down as we drove. They had to give him a breathing treatment and the doctor advised that the cold night time air was the right thing. Second go around a year later, I heard the barking and knew exactly what to go for. Again, scooped him up out I bed and sat outside in the cold with him on my lap. It calmed the cough and helped steady his breathing. My tip is if run her outside into a cool night air if this ever happens again during the night. It works immediately for us over a humidifier or steam shower. I
Hope she feels better soon!
‘Remember I don’t feel good.’ She is hilarious!!! Hope she gets better soon!
I hope she feels better soon
I’m sure I’m just repeating what others have already said above but sitting in the bathroom while a hot steamy shower runs does help a lot as does sleeping on a few extra pillows.
If she doesn’t show improvement the good doc might call you in liquid prednisone to put in your humidifier as well. That’s what our doc did for us to help our little one through it a little faster.
Another experienced croup mom here.. whenever my asthmatic son gets croup, I take him immediately to the ER. On the way, I give him his albuterol inhaler, a dose of Motrin / Ibuprofen for the swelling in his throat, and something cold to drink for the swelling. We drive with the windows down for the cold air to help him breathe. The ER usually gives him a breathing treatment and oxygen and monitors his blood oxygen level for awhile to make sure he is getting enough oxygen. He is also given Epinephrine to relax his airways immediately and keep them from constricting further. After a dose of epinephrine, he starts sounding and feeling better within about 10 minutes. Then they give him a liquid steroid of some kind, probably prednisone, along with a prednisone prescription to be filled right away to make sure his airways stay open and clear for a few days. Of course, we always also use a cold mist humidifier at night then or even when he naps sometimes. Sometimes I have had him sit by the cold mist humidifier during the day just while watching TV to make sure he is not breathing in really dry air.
We almost lost him to an asthma attack a couple years ago so I understand your concern. Croup is so scary. If Annie’s cough doesn’t get better soon, I would have her checked to make sure it hasn’t become an upper respiratory infection. I hope that sweet little gal and you all are feeling better soon.
My son got croup a couple of times. Our pediatrician who is just as fabulous as Dr Loooove called me back (about an hour after I e-mailed him) and he heard Joey coughing and said, “Yes, that’s croup.” He arranged for someone to deliver a thingamajiggy to my house and he phoned in a script to the pharmacy. I was soooo relieved. He did soooo much better after the first 3 treatments. Nebulizer?? I forget what it’s called. There was some steroid that went into the machine.
My kids have both had croupe… With my daugher, taking her outside when it was cold helped her quite a bit … With my son sitting in a hot steamy bathroom made his cough 1000 times better. We had to sit for quite a while – about 20 minutes… but did it before bed, and then put him in his room where his humidifier was already going, and he slept so much better. Hope it doesn’t last long for Annie!
My son used to get it a lot too (not so much now but he still sounds like a seal any time he has a cold!) and the times we have had to go to hospital (outside of normal Dr hrs) he has been given steroids and has been better within minutes! The few occasions he has had it during normal hrs the Dr has just given me the same advice as above (steam, cold air) and it has taken days to clear! While I’m sure too many steroids aren’t great for little ones I much prefer a quick dose of steroids and child who instantly feels better than one who is poorly for days! I hope Annie gets better quickly. X
My daughter used to get it so much we called her the Croup Queen! She started at 15 months, and got it for the last time at 5. Definitely the shower thing helped, as did the cold night air, but not sure how much of that you get in SoCal! I parked the rocker in the bathroom, and at least we both got a little sleep that way. If she does wind up on prednisone, fair warning – it made my daughter quite wired! Singing in her crib at 2 a.m., etc.
Also, croup almost always ends with a cold, not sure if the doc warned you about that. My youngest kid had it 7 times in one year, and all times, it ended with a runny nose, etc. Cuz, you know, the croup wasn’t awesome enough on its own!
Also – very contagious, esp. to other kids. When one of my kids got it, at least one other one would too. It’s caused by the same virus that gives grown-ups laryngitis – guiltily, I gave it to my kids once!
“Remember, I don’t feel good.” So darn funny. She is something else, and she knows how to get through to mama for sure!! Hope she feels better real soon.
My son gets it about twice a year, he started at 4 months. The best thing besides the humidifier is taking him outside to sit in the cool night air. The steamy shower never worked for him. As soon as he could talk he would tell me to take him outside since he knows it makes him feel better. We wrap up in a blanket and sit until he is breathing comfortably again and look at the stars and the moon. It is our snuggle time (now he is 7 and we still do it when he gets croup)
We just had croup come through our house – scary sound! The other thing that I don’t see mentioned here yet (but I scanned through the comments pretty quickly) is open the freezer and try and get her to take some deep breaths of the colder air. The cold air will loosen up her bronchi and dilate the vessels. Up here in Edmonton, we’re told to wrap them in blankets and head outside – I imagine that’s not such an option in California where it’s a bit more warm. Good Luck Mama!
I hope she’s feeling better very soon.
Feel better soon Annie!
My 3 girls got it all at the same time 2 years ago. My oldest was 3 1/2 and the twins were just over a year. It was terrible. It was the first time we’d ever experienced it and it was terrifying. One of the twins almost had to be rushed to the ER. Her lungs have always had issues (you should hear her when she gets a cold!) and they both needed steroids for a couple days. It disappeared almost as quickly as it appeared and luckily, we haven’t had it again.
I agree, the steamed up bathroom, cold night air & cool mist humidifier are the best options. The twins still sleep with a humidifier every night.
OMG I want an Annie!!!
HA HA HA she cracks me up even when she doesn’t feel good.
Hope she’s better soon!
My kids get croup ALL THE TIME….what works best for us is we alternate the hot wet and the cold wet. The hot wet is the steam from the shower and the cold wet is the cold air outside at night. It works wonders especially if you don’t have steriods – readily available. Which we do because they get croup ALL THE TIME and at 3 am =]
I don’t know. My doctor said the humidity really doesn’t help that much. She gave us a medicine called Bromfed DM and a few days of an oral steroid. The croup stopped immediately.
Poor little girl…I don’t usaully comment, but I understand what you’re going through completely! My daughter had croup when she was a baby (always had respiratory issues) and has had it every year since. I should mention she’s 19. The doctor’s have always told us it’s because of her asthma. But don’t worry she’ll get through it!
My daughter had croup a lot! She had it several times until she was much older. It was tough really just the first night. If it was cool outside (Minnesota cool), I would wrap a down comforter around us and go outside. If it was summer, we would head to the bathroom and run the steam and just sit. Both worked really well. After the first night it turns into a thick cough, but the thick cough sounds so much better than the tight cough of the first night. Invest in a really good humidifier, it will help!
So many croup stories!
Now that my girl is 9 its been a while! We sed to hang out with puzzles and books in the steamy bathroom…exhausting and cozy times!
Poor punkin…poor mommy & daddy! Now that you describe it, I realize that’s what my niece had a couple months ago: she’s 3 1/2. When does croup stop???
My son had asthma, not croup (but the same concept). I got a breathing treatment machine to keep at home and used it for any signs of lung issues. (For the record, steamy showers + asthma can lead to pneumonia.)
It was WAY less traumatic than an ER visit, and our insurance company sent a home health nurse to our house to teach us the use and maintenance. The insurance company had likely done the math that the machine, the nurse and the prescriptions were exponentially less expensive than one ER visit. Since he was a toddler, we started with the face masks. My son, being the independent spirit, wasn’t happy being forced to do anything. I taught him to hold it to his face and breathe deeply (under supervision, natch). “This will make me feel better, right, mommy?” “Yes baby. Take deep breaths.”