Paediatric 12 Hour First Aid Level 3 (VTQ) - Online Blended Part 1

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Croup is an infection that affects the voice box or larynx and the airway to the lungs, the trachea. Croup is characterized by a sudden onset of the seal-like barking cough that's usually accompanied by a rasping sound when breathing in. Other symptoms of the condition include a hoarse-like voice and respiratory distress due to obstructions of the upper airways. Croup usually affects young children between six months to three years old. However, children who are over six years old may sometimes get croup. It's also possible for children under six months of age to develop croup, although this is rare. Croup tends to affect boys more than girls. During childhood, those affected by croup may get the condition two or more times. Most cases of croup do not need to be treated because the condition usually is self-limiting. In other words, it gets better on its own. It tends to only last for a short period of time. However, if croup affects your child's breathing, it can be an irritating and occasionally distressing condition.

If the child is distressed, sit them upright on your lap. It will also provide comfort and reassurance to the child by having you there. This is important because if your child is crying and distressed, it may make their symptoms worse. A mild case of croup can be treated at home. If the child has a fever, painkillers such as paracetamol will help lower their temperature. You should also make sure that you give your child plenty of fluids to ensure they remain hydrated. You should not give your child any medicine that may cause them to be drowsy. Children often find it easier to breathe while they are alert. While your child is sleeping, prop them up with pillows to make it easy for them to breathe. If the child has croup, it's very important to avoid smoky places because the smoke may irritate their airways. Do not smoke around the child, and keep windows open to circulate fresh air. Cough medicines and decongestants have no benefit in treating croup. Painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen are available in liquid form, making them ideal for younger children. You can get liquid paracetamol over-the-counter from pharmacies and some supermarkets.

Do not give paracetamol if your child has previously had any adverse reactions to it or sensitivity to the medication. Children who are under the age of 16 should not be given aspirin. Babies and children who are over three months of age can be given ibuprofen as long as they weigh over 5 kilos. As with paracetamol, you should not give children ibuprofen if they have a history of adverse reactions or sensitivity to it. Speak to the GP or pharmacist if you're unsure about what type of painkiller is suitable for the child. You should also make sure that you read the dosage information on the packaging or the patient information leaflet that comes with the product. Follow the instructions about how much medicine to give the child correctly.

Dial 999 or request an ambulance if your child is struggling to breathe. You should visit your GP if you're worried about the child's breathing. The GP may decide to give your child soluble steroids to drink in water. A single dose of steroids, which reduces inflammation and swelling, has been shown to benefit children with mild to moderate and severe croup. If the child is admitted to the hospital with croup, they will probably be given oxygen to help them breathe easier. The child may also be given steroids to reduce the swelling in their airways. If the child has difficulty drinking and getting fluids in, the hospital may give the child fluids through an intravenous drip through their vein in order to keep them hydrated. In less than 1% of croup cases, a child may need intubation. This is where a tube is inserted either through the nostril or the mouth and down into the trachea, the windpipe. Intubation will help your child breathe more easily.