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Thread: croup or asthma?

  1. #1

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    Default croup or asthma?

    hi ladies,

    i am after some advice if that is ok. DS has just turned two. last year he had several recurrent bouts of croup including having croup twice in 3 weeks. at the beginning of this year we moved interstate, DS woke up with what we thought was croup, took him to a new GP, who said that children only ever get croup once or twice, anything after that is classed as asthma. he prescribed a puffer for DS to have twice a day and then sent me home. he gave me repeats for the puffer too.

    anyway a friend posted on fb saying that her son had croup overnight and she spent the night in hospital with him. i told her what this GP told me. she said i should find another doctor. so then DH called and i spoke to him and he even agrees saying that he doesnt think its asthma as when his brother was younger his brother was always sick with asthma and it was different.

    i am so confused. i do think a second opinion would be good but then think they would probably still say that he has asthma.

    just wondering if anyone can help me out and if you have been thru the same thing with your children



    TIA

  2. #2

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    I haven't been through anything like this, but I hope you get some answers soon.

  3. #3

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    I'd seek a second oppinion. An asthma puffer can help with croup, but I wouldn't use it regularly unless I was sure.
    My DS has had croup 5 or 6 times, my oldest is asthmatic & has never had croup...

  4. #4

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    Definately get another opinion! Croup is croup and VERY different to asthma! Croup is caused by an illness (which can be obvious or not), and is due to small airways not being able to cope with the slight swelling of the throat before or during an illness. I suffer Adult croup, due to congenital narrow airways, it is rare because as airways grow you usually stop getting croup, this isnt so with asthma. Croup is usually only present at certain times, and when watched closely, is predictable (mine is change of seasons where weather varies greatly day to day) and there are usually long stretches where the croup isnt present (not necessarily so in severe cases) Croup can be just as dangerous as asthma in its severe form, it nearly killed both me and one of my younger brothers (we both had the most severe form as kids)

    Puffers can be helpful, but using them constantly can cause dependance. I feel that if you have moved interstate that it may very likely just be your DS adjusting to the new climate If your son seems to be stuck in a cycle of croup you could possibly ask for a weeks course of low dose prednisolone, this sometimes help to set me right if i get into a bad cycle.

    I wouldnt worry too much, alot of kids get croup...... as long as your DS doesnt get blue lips etc during an attack. Turning on the hot tap in the bathroom and steaming up the room will help him breathe easier through the attack.

    All the best for you and you son

  5. #5

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    thanks ladies. my GP and i had an understanding in adelaide. as soon as i heard the barky cough, gave him a dose of prednisolone and then bought him that day to be assessed. so i did the same thing here and had the GP go off his tree at me saying that i should never have done that and i am irresponsible and so forth. i am just starting to feel like a failure of a mother with this all. sorry

  6. #6

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    Find someone else. Good luck. Its hard finding a supportive doctor in a new area.

  7. #7

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    Find a new GP. Croup is a viral illness, asthma is a disease signified by bronchospasm (spasm of the small airways), mucosal oedema (swelling of the mucosal tissue) and mucosal plugging (mucous plugging up the small airways). Two different illnesses. Croup, as you know, is differentiated from asthma by the barking cough. And if the barking cough is present, the illness is viral - croup - not asthma.

    Your GP sounds like a dill. On top of all that, to make you feel like poo for doing exactly what you have always done in consultation with your previous GP is just not acceptable.

    Hope your DS is feeling better.

    PS. Hey Clover, I like your quote. Did you know today is Dr Suess' birthday?!

  8. #8

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    My DS gets terrible croup still at almost 4. He will have at least half a dozen episodes a year but he does not have asthma.

    I would find another GP too especially if you arent feeling so good about the advice he is giving you

  9. #9

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    Croup is a virus that lasts a few days. We got an asthma diagnosis after several of these bouts of coughing/wheezing.

    Asthma can have a barking cough (either that or my son has eternal croup!!). The barking is usually a sign of tight airways.

    I say find another gp regardless. No gp should go off their tree and make you feel bad. There are much kinder ways to correct a diagnosis and change a care plan if that's what is needed.

    Eta: from what I remember explained to me, age (usually over 3 for asthma) family history and the presence of wheezing is taken into consideration for asthma diagnosis. We were told because ds responds well to relievers etc that he would likely grow out of his asthma. To a large extent he has already, but now we are starting to pinpoint a few triggers for it. So his is definitely asthma rather than viral.
    Last edited by Liz; March 2nd, 2012 at 11:41 AM.

  10. #10

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    DS1 has spasmodic croup which is different from normal croup in that it can be caused by any minor cold virus whereas normal croup usually only happens with more serious infections that are accompanied by fever. Spasmodic croup can also be caused by allergies or changes in weather. Most kids grow out of spasmodic croup by the age of 6. We also have predmix in the fridge and administer that at first signs of croup without having to consult the GP each time as he gets croup every time he has a minor sniffle. :hugs: it is hard to see them suffer with croup so often. HTH

  11. #11

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    Esme that sounds similar to DS yet he was diagnosed asthmatic (triggered mostly when sick with even common cold, and appears to be seasonal) We used a preventer for a year which helped a lot.

    From what I've read the two are very similar re symptoms (hence all the diagnoses probably!) and are essentially treated the same, with a reliever and predmix if needed. We have it in the fridge too but haven't needed it for ages now.

    It's important to find a gp you trust tho, and then I guess it's to that doctors discretion as to how to treat recurring croup/asthma symptoms.

  12. #12

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    That is interesting Liz. DS's symptoms are only at night. He goes to bed with a runny nose and sore throat (no cough or wheezing) and wakes up after an hour and a half with full-on croup (stridor, struggling to breath, panicking, unable to swallow). We calm him down, give him predmix and Nurofen and within 20 minutes to half an hour he us fast asleep and sleeps soundly until the next morning. During the day he doesn't cough and usually doesn't wheeze, but that could be because of the predmix. Would you mind describing your son's symptoms? I have been wondering about the difference between the two as well...

  13. #13

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    Hmm.. Ds hasn't been quite that bad. When he got a cold tho (although not so much this past season) he would cough a lot and at night it would have quite a bark. That was my signal to check him, and he would have a wheeze and an obvious tracheal tug. Usually we could relieve it with ventolin (4-6 puffs) about 1/2-1hr apart? If it wasn't relieving it to my liking we would use predmix which was almost instant relief for him and see dr next day. He wasn't sick enough for it to be labeled croup most times and dr described him as a happy wheezer cos it didn't seem to distress him much even tho he could have a lingering wheeze.
    It seemed seasonal as well as when he got a cold and we were going to look into allergies (he has very mild eczema too periodically) but because he seemed to be growing out of it we didn't follow up. But just recently we've connected things like watermelon to triggering this cough in him so we might look into allergies after all. But these days his wheeze/barking cough is fairly mild and quite spaced apart and he just uses ventolin to relieve it and then he's fine.
    He didn't have any of this before age 3 and only history of asthma is dh's bro having it as a kid. Maybe cos of his age they went straight to asthma over croup?

  14. #14

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    thanks ladies. this means a lot to me.

    i will definately seek a second opinion. DS seems to go to bed normal, and wake up in the morning with a barky cough. after day 2-3 then the runny nose starts and the cold symptoms come on. where as, the research i have been doing about croup, they have cold symptoms to start with. he normally never has a fever either with the barky cough. in winter we noticed too that he coughs a lot when the cold night air comes in and first thing in the morning.

    i guess i will ask around about a much better gp. thank you so much

  15. #15

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    Teresa, that does sound like croup to me, even though there is something called viral induced asthma. DS sometimes gets croup first before other noticeable symptoms: I put this down to him having a sore (inflamed) throat before other symptoms start. As croup basically is the inflammation of the voicebox/upper airways it seems to be caused by inflammation in the throat. But as one of the previous posters mentioned, treatment for both conditions is basicly the same.

  16. #16

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    Teresa, that does sound like croup to me, even though there is something called viral induced asthma. DS sometimes gets croup first before other noticeable symptoms: I put this down to him having a sore (inflamed) throat before other symptoms start. As croup basically is the inflammation of the voicebox/upper airways it seems to be caused by inflammation in the throat.

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