Croup and whooping cough are both dangerous childhood illnesses, and in terms of severity, it can be difficult to determine which is worse. Both illnesses usually start with cold-like symptoms, including a low-grade fever, runny nose, and sore throat.
Coughing is also common in both illnesses.
Croup is typically caused by a virus, and is more common in children under 5. The distinguishing characteristic of croup is a loud and distinctive bark-like cough, usually at night. In more serious cases, the child might develop a high-pitched and wheezing sound when they breathe, requiring a course of steroids to minimize this symptom.
Whooping cough is caused by a bacterial infection, and tends to be more serious in older children and adults. The classic symptom of whooping cough is a violent, severe coughing fit which ends in a high-pitched and distinctive “whoop.
” These fits can last for a minute or even longer, and can be extremely alarming. Children with whooping cough may also experience vomiting after a fit.
In terms of severity, it is difficult to definitively determine which is worse. Whichever illness is suspected, medical attention should be sought as soon as possible to avoid further complications.
What is the difference between croup and whooping cough?
Croup and whooping cough, or pertussis, are both respiratory illnesses and may have similar symptoms. Croup is a viral inflammation of the larynx and trachea, primarily affecting children younger than six.
Symptoms of croup include a characteristically loud cough, hoarseness, difficulty breathing, and a “barking” sound. Croup is caused by a variety of viruses, and can be treated with steroids and humidification.
Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a highly contagious bacterial infection of the respiratory tract. The disease is characterized by a severe unstoppable cough, which may last several weeks and can end with a “whoop” sound as the patient breathes in air.
Whooping cough mainly affects very young children, but can also affect adults. The illness is highly contagious and is spread through respiratory secretions. Treatment involves antibiotics and cough suppressants to help alleviate the coughing bouts.
While croup is usually mild and resolves on its own, whooping cough can be serious and even fatal in infants. Vaccinations are the primary way to protect against whooping cough.
How serious is croup cough?
Croup cough can range from mild to serious depending on the severity of the condition. Mild cases generally involve a low-grade fever and wheezing, while the more severe cases involve higher fever and difficulty breathing.
Also, the cough can be quite severe and persistent, and if not treated, can lead to severe dehydration and weight loss. Additionally, when symptoms of croup last for more than five days, it could be an indication that the child has a more serious infection and should be seen by a physician.
In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary. Complications from croup can include dehydration, pneumonia, and respiratory failure. As such, it is important to seek medical advice immediately if you suspect your child might have this condition.
Is whooping cough a serious illness?
Yes, whooping cough (pertussis) is a serious illness. Although it is more commonly seen in young children, anyone can catch it. It is a highly infectious bacterial disease and can cause severe illness and even death, especially in babies and young children.
Symptoms may range from a mild cough lasting a few weeks, to severe and prolonged bouts of coughing, ending in a whooping noise. Complications such as pneumonia, seizures or brain damage can also occur in extreme cases.
Therefore, it is important for people of all ages to get vaccinated against this illness and for parents to ensure their children are immunized in accordance with recommended vaccination schedules.
What are the 3 stages of whooping cough?
The three stages of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, include the catarrhal, paroxysmal, and convalescent stages. The catarrhal stage is the most common stage and usually appears one to two weeks after initial infection.
In this stage, people will experience symptoms such as a mild fever, runny nose, and a mild, occasional cough. This stage can last up to two weeks.
The next stage is the paroxysmal stage, in which a severe ‘whooping’ cough develops. This stage is characterized by intense coughing fits, exhaustion after coughing, coughing so hard that a person may vomit, a red or blue face due to lack of oxygen during coughing, and a “whoop” sound when the person takes a breath in between fits.
This stage can last four to six weeks.
Lastly, the convalescent stage is the recovery period. During this stage, the cough begins to decrease in intensity and frequency. However, the cough can still linger for several weeks after the acute symptoms have stopped.
Overall, whooping cough can be a highly dangerous illness that is spread easily through the air and is especially dangerous for babies and young children. To reduce the spread of whooping cough, it’s important for everyone to get vaccinated on time.
What does whooping cough sound like in a child?
In a child, whooping cough (also known as pertussis) usually starts out with symptoms that look like a cold, such as a runny or blocked nose, sneezing, and a mild fever. As the illness progresses, however, the coughing develops and can become quite severe.
It typically starts off with spells of coughing followed by a long, deep inhale with a high-pitched whoop sound – this is how the illness gets its name. The coughing becomes so severe that it can leave the child exhausted and gasping for air.
It can also cause vomiting. In very severe cases, the coughing can make it difficult for the child to eat, drink, or even breathe. These coughing fits can last for weeks or months, which is why it is so important to get vaccinated and to get prompt medical attention if a child develops whooping cough.
How do I know if my baby has whooping cough or just a cough?
If your baby has a cough, it may be difficult to determine if it is whooping cough or just a regular cough. If you suspect that your baby may have whooping cough, it is important to contact a healthcare provider as soon as possible.
One of the most common symptoms of whooping cough is a severe cough with a high-pitched “whoop” sound when taking a breath. If your baby has a cough that is accompanied by a whoop sound, it is likely whooping cough but should still be confirmed by a healthcare provider.
Other signs and symptoms of whooping cough may include difficulty breathing, vomiting after a coughing spell, and a red or runny nose with clear mucus.
In order to diagnose whooping cough, your doctor will perform a physical exam, ask about your baby’s medical history, and order lab tests. To confirm a diagnosis of whooping cough, a healthcare provider will look for antibodies to the bacteria in the blood or a swab from the back of the nose or throat.
If your baby is diagnosed with whooping cough, treatment may include antibiotics, fluids to prevent dehydration, and rest. Vaccines can help prevent whooping cough, and if your baby is old enough to receive vaccines, they should be kept up to date.
What can be mistaken for croup?
Croup can sometimes be mistaken for other illnesses, such as the common cold or bronchitis. Colds also cause a cough, runny nose, and other cold symptoms, but a cold usually does not cause the barking cough, hoarse voice, or difficulty breathing that is common with croup.
Bronchitis can also be mistaken for croup, as it is a lower respiratory infection. Symptoms of bronchitis include a cough that produces a lot of mucus and chest pain. However, like a cold, bronchitis does not cause a barking cough, hoarse voice, or difficulty breathing, which are all common signs of croup.
Other respiratory illnesses such as tracheitis, epiglottitis, laryngotracheobronchitis, and asthma may be mistaken for croup.
Do you need antibiotics for croup cough?
Whether or not you need antibiotics for a croup cough depends on the cause of the cough. Croup is a viral illness, so antibiotics will not help if the cause is a virus. However, if the cause is a bacterial infection, such as a strep throat, antibiotics may be necessary.
It is important to have an accurate diagnosis in order to determine if antibiotics are needed. If your healthcare provider believes your cough may be caused by a bacterial infection, they may prescribe antibiotics.
If the cause is a virus, they can provide supportive care to help with your symptoms.
What do early symptoms of whooping cough look like?
Early symptoms of whooping cough (or pertussis) often appear similar to a cold, including a runny nose, a slight fever, and a mild cough. As the infection progresses, more severe symptoms can become present.
These can include the classic “whoop” sound when breathing in after a long coughing fit, coughing which is worse at night, choking or gagging after a coughing fit, and a vomiting sensation after a coughing attack.
Early symptoms of whooping cough can usually be managed at home with rest, fluids, and over-the-counter cough medications. However, it is important to watch for signs of worsening such as if the cough becomes more severe, if fever is present or is increasing, or if difficulty breathing or eating is occurring.
If any of these occur, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
When does croup become serious?
Croup is an infection of the upper airways, typically caused by a virus, which can cause a barking cough, hoarse voice, and difficulty breathing. The coughing can last up to two weeks and may become worse when your child inhales cold air.
While croup is usually not serious, it can become critical under certain circumstances.
For example, croup can become serious if the child has difficulty breathing or gets the “viral croup gag”, where the child can’t inhale properly. If your child is showing any of these signs, you should seek emergency medical attention.
Croup can also become serious if your child experiences severe coughing fits in which they turn blue from lack of oxygen, wheezing (a whistling sound when breathing), a rapid heartbeat, or has trouble speaking.
Additionally, if your child is coughing too hard to take breaths or appears to be breathing too hard and fast, they may need immediate medical attention.
Seek emergency medical attention right away if your child is having difficulty breathing or appears to be in distress due to croup.
What if croup goes untreated?
If croup goes untreated, it can cause serious medical complications which can be life-threatening. Without medical treatment, the swelling in the windpipe can become severe, making it difficult for the individual to breathe.
In severe cases, it can lead to the windpipe becoming completely blocked and the individual is unable to breathe at all. In this situation, oxygen levels in the body become dangerously low, leading to cyanosis (blue discoloration of the skin due to lack of oxygen).
If this is not addressed immediately, it can lead to other issues such as brain damage, heart failure, and even death. Other possible complications from untreated croup include inflammation of the lungs, pneumonia, and respiratory acidosis which is caused by too much carbon dioxide in the body.
Additionally, untreated croup can cause recurrent episodes which put a greater strain on the body.
What age is croup most common?
Croup is a common upper respiratory infection in young children typically before the age of 6. It is most common in children aged 3 months to 5 years old, but it can occur in children up to the age of 8.
It is rare in children older than age 8. Croup typically occurs during cold weather months or in the late fall. It is caused by a viral infection that affects the trachea, or windpipe. Symptoms of croup include a hoarse voice, a cough that may sound like a barking seal and difficulty breathing due to swelling of the airways.
Treatment for croup may include oral steroids or a cool mist humidifier, but severe cases may require hospitalization and IV steroids.
What is whooping cough called now?
Whooping cough is now formally known as pertussis. It is an infectious disease caused by the Bordetella pertussis bacterium. It is a serious disease that mainly affects infants and young children, although it can affect older children and adults as well.
Symptoms include a severe and distinctive hacking cough, followed by a high-pitched inspiratory sound (the “whoop”). Other symptoms may include sneezing, runny nose, fever, and apnea (the temporary cessation of breathing).
Pertussis is preventable through the use of a vaccine. Unfortunately, if pertussis is not treated right away, it can lead to serious complications, including pneumonia, brain damage, and even death in extreme cases.
Is whooping cough the same as the 100-day cough?
No, whooping cough and the 100-day cough are not the same. Whooping cough is also known as pertussis and is a bacterial infection of the respiratory system, caused by the Bordetella pertussis bacterium.
Symptoms of whooping cough include bouts of severe coughing which can cause vomiting, a “whoop” sound when the person inhales, and exhaustion after coughing episodes. Children and the elderly are most vulnerable to the infection and it can be severe and even life-threatening.
The 100-day cough, on the other hand, refers to a condition caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria. It mainly affects children aged between 4 and 10 years old. Symptoms of this condition include a persistent dry cough (as opposed to the bouts of coughing seen with whooping cough), mild fever, and chest discomfort.
This condition usually resolves on its own without antibiotics and lasts for up to 100 days.