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Cough causes and methods of treatment

Cough causes and methods of treatment

The croup is a respiratory disease that affects young children, causing a distinct cough, hoarse voice and breathing problems.
In most cases, the croup is due to viral infection, although it also may arise for reasons totally different.
The diagnosis is quite simple and is based on an analysis of symptoms, the severity of which also depend on treatment choices; if your symptoms are particularly severe, the young patient may need specific care or even be hospitalized.
What is croup?

Croup or croup, is a disease typical of the airways of young children, which causes difficulty in breathing and a tossa "barking" entirely characteristic.


Croup causes a swelling of the larynx, that is the last stretch of the upper airway; moreover, blocks the trachea and the pulmonary bronchi, which represent the first portions of the lower airways.

Figure: red strokes of the respiratory tract affected by the inflammatory process. From the site: babyreflux.co.uk
Croup usually affects children aged between 6 months and 3 years.
However, it is not entirely inconceivable that can also affect younger children and teenagers.
In adults, its appearance is very rare.
Although croup can occur in any season, it is more frequent in late autumn and early winter.
Between males and females, suffer the most are the children of men.
The same person can contract the croup several times during his childhood.

The croup is usually the result of a viral infection.
The viruses potentially responsible are:
Human paraninfluenzali virus. Are the main architects of the croup; 4 of the existing species (I, II, III and IV), the species I is the most dangerous (as regards the croup, of course).
Influenza viruses A and B
The measles virus
the rhinovirus
Human respiratory syncytial virus.

TRANSMISSION Parainfluenza virus

Human parainfluenza viruses can spread after direct contact between a healthy person and a person infected, or after contact with contaminated objects.
A common mode of spread by direct contact is represented by the inhalation of droplets containing the virus and in the air as a result of sneezing or coughing, made from infected individuals.


Croup can also have non-infectious origin; although very rarely, in fact, it may arise for:
Inhalation of small objects, such as peanuts, peas etc.
Un'epiglottite, or inflammation of the epiglottis.
An allergic reaction to pollen or dust mite
Inhalation of irritants
Gastroesophageal reflux
Typical symptoms of croup are:
Cough "barking". It is called this way due to the similarities with barking from the dog.
Hoarse voice.
difficulty breathing. They are greater in younger children, as they present the airways rather narrow and just a slight swelling of the larynx for occluderle.
Issue, while breathing, a sound similar to something that jars: simply gnashing.
Typical cold expressions, in other words: runny nose, sore throat and fever.
The symptomatology, in particular the screeching, may become worse during the night or when the baby cries, is rough and / or coughing.
Typically, the events of the croup last 3 or 4 days, then disappear.


The croup is generally not a dangerous disease.
When it becomes, however, it is characterized by the appearance of one or more of the following symptoms and signs:
Severe breathing problems
Increase in the number of breaths or silent chest
Worsening stridor
Cyanosis in the fingers or paleness
abnormal sleepiness
High fever
Inability or refusal to take fluids
Tachycardia or bradycardia
Ribs and very obvious chest
The presence of one or more of these events should prompt parents to immediately contact your pediatrician or contact the nearest hospital for a thorough analysis of the situation and to receive appropriate care.
According to some Anglo-Saxon studies, less than 5% of cases of croup leads to problems that may require hospitalization of the sick child.


Though rarely, a failure to treat croup can cause complete airway obstruction (can then respiratory arrest), secondary infections (eg pneumonia, tracheitis and laryngeal diphtheria), ear infections or lymphadenitis.

To establish the diagnosis of croup, it is sufficient that the physician observes the symptoms and finds the presence of some typical signs caused by the disease, such as the "barking" cough, stridor while breathing etc.
If, for some reason, after careful observation of symptoms were satisfied doubts, they can be drilled closer examination, such as the examination of the chest X-ray or blood tests.

The treatment of croup depends on the severity of symptoms.
Usually, the infection can be treated by home remedies with simple and with the administration of some anti-inflammatory, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen for children.
The use of more potent drugs (corticosteroids) and hospitalization are indicated respectively for medium to serious cases, and for those very serious.

Because the drugs used? When

Acetaminophen and ibuprofen to reduce inflammation in the airways, relieving feverish state and improve the whole symptomatology.
Corticosteroids (dexamethasone or prednisolone) When symptoms after 3-4 days, not improving. It is good to administer prescription only, because corticosteroids can cause several side effects.
When antibiotics are being secondary infection.
DO NOT give drugs Why?
Aspirin In individuals under 16 years old, can develop Reye's syndrome.
Antitussives and decongestants can cause drowsiness, but above all make breathing even more difficult.


To speed healing and provide relief to the child, it is recommended that:
Keep hydrated little patient, administering fluids enough. The risk of dehydration, when they are going illnesses such as croup, colds, influenza and so on. It is high.
Seat the sick child in a position comfortable for breathing.
Reassure the patient, perhaps distracting him with some game because weeping and shaking worsen the symptoms.


In case of severe croup, your doctor may administer adrenaline aerosol and oxygen through a mask (oxygen therapy).
It resorts to hospital when the child needs to be intubated to breathe. Intubation should be performed under general anesthesia.

hygiene care for the baby, do not expose it to the contact with people with colds or flu, and vaccinate against viral infections (the second to the doctor's opinion), are three great ways to prevent croup.

When the cough is oily

Oily or productive cough is characterized by violent expulsion from the mouth of thick, sticky sputum, phlegm, absent in the dry variant or non-productive
Though it may be unpleasant and annoying, the cough is a very important defense and security tool to respiratory system; within the phlegm expelled with shots of cough are in fact hundreds of tiny microorganisms which, if kept inside the airways, may aggravate or even worse, encourage the infection.
The cough is due to plugging of the bronchi by mucus accumulations more or less consistent.
Flu and cough

Flu and cough often walk hand: not surprisingly, most of the burden of respiratory infections is manifested with more or less frequent attacks of coughing. More precisely, the performance of cough during the flu illness is not constant: if cold and flu typically debut with dry cough, in the later stages the productive cough takes over. The appearance of the cough is generally interpreted as a primary affection respiratory complication synonymous with infection (often bacterial) in place.
In most cases, the cough employee from similar respiratory diseases tends to regress by itself in the space of a few days, without necessarily resorting to the aid of mucolytic drugs.
Only if necessary, your doctor may prescribe medications for coughs or other therapeutic benefits to ease symptoms and speed up the throw-in health.

What can it be

The cough does not occur only in the context of colds and flu, since it represents a common symptom in many respiratory diseases.
Starting from the characteristics of cough and analysis of related symptoms, we try to provide useful elements for a first and hypothetical self-diagnosis (which must always be determined by medical diagnostic tests):

Characteristics of cough and symptoms associated
diagnostic hypotheses (requires medical assessment)
Cough accompanied by oily green phlegm, mucus and abundant
bacterial infection in place
Initially, the cough is dry and hacking; after a few days, the cough becomes productive. The patient's clinical picture is completed by symptoms such as fever, sore throat, headache and general malaise
complications of influenza
Cough accompanied by a fat bloody sputum (hemoptysis)
Pertussis: the issue of a mucous sputum, bloody and racy is preceded by a series of violent blows of dry cough
Tuberculosis: the expulsion of bloody phlegm from the mouth is early - even in this case - by a number of coughs and acute chest pain
Infection with intestinal worms (eg. Ascaris lumbricoides)
malignant asbestosis (a complication of a disease caused by frequent exposure to asbestos)
Aspergillosis, caused dall'Aspergillus infection
pulmonary abscess
Cough fat, sometimes bloody, accompanied by high fever, chills, difficulty breathing, pains in the chest, profuse sweating
bacterial pneumonia (pneumococcal)
Cough fat accompanied by emphysema, clear lung injury, fibrosis, dyspnea, fatigue, weight loss
Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (or extrinsic allergic alveolitis): This is a serious hypersensitivity reaction of the lung caused by repeated inhalation of organic dust (eg. Hay, animal droppings etc.).
Cough accompanied by sputum oily smell fetid
pulmonary gangrene
Frothy sputum, pink and serous
Pulmonary edema
The texture and appearance of phlegm issued during a coup cough is comparable with currant jelly
bronchopulmonary cancer
Pneumonia due to Klebsiella pneumoniae
The cough is accompanied by sputum from a blackish color or very dark
Anthracosis, rare occupational disease linked frequent and prolonged inhalation of coal dust

Some diseases or disorders may present either with dry cough or productive cough: in these cases, the watchful and expert eye of a doctor is essential to trace the root cause through the meticulous evaluation of symptoms "accompanying".
For example, lung cancer, COPD and some seasonal allergies of the respiratory tract (eg. Hay fever) may have a typically dry cough and tickly or begin with violent blows of cough. It is clear that in these cases an initial self-diagnosis is quite complex, as well as useless: it is therefore recommended as soon as possible to request a check.
Other times, the cough may be a side effect of treatment: for example, a wrong dose (dose) of Coumadin - known anticoagulant medication - can also result in the emission of cough with blood.
Considering that the cough is a common symptom in many diseases, it is quite understandable as the differential diagnosis is essential for the purpose of healing.


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