What is croup and how do I treat it?

Pediatric Otolaryngologist Nina Shapiro, MD, explains everything you need to know about a croup infection. What is croup, who does it affect, and what treatment is available?
What Is Croup and How to Best Treat It
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What is croup and how do I treat it?

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Croup is a viral illness that affects the windpipe in young children. Most commonly, this is an inflammation of the airway that affects children between the age of six and eighteen months. It can affect older children, but it's more commonly seen in young children. This is a child who has a cold, maybe a little bit of a fever, and in the middle of the night, you hear what sounds like a seal barking. It really sounds like you have a seal in your house. The child wakes up, barking like a seal. The reason they are doing that is because there is some narrowing in their windpipe that's infected from the virus. The best immediate treatment for these kids, is to get them into some sort of humidity. That could be turning on the hot shower, let the bathroom get all steamy, let them breathe in some of the humidified air. Take them outside, especially if it's a hot night and it's raining. That will relieve the breathing problem and their coughing. It's very important that you stay calm if your child is having this episode. It's very scary for children. They feel that they can't breathe. If you calm down, usually your child will calm down. If, with these measures, they are still having breathing problems, that's the kid that needs to go to the Emergency Room.

Pediatric Otolaryngologist Nina Shapiro, MD, explains everything you need to know about a croup infection. What is croup, who does it affect, and what treatment is available?

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Nina Shapiro, MD

Pediatric Otolaryngologist

Dr. Nina Shapiro is the Director of Pediatric Otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat) and an Associate Professor of Surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.  As the first fellowship-trained pediatric otolaryngologist at the medical center since it was founded in 1955, her presence has put UCLA 'on the map' in her field.  

A graduate of Harvard Medical School and Cornell University College of Arts and Sciences, she also completed her residency training at Harvard.  She then went on to complete additional subspecialty training in pediatric otolaryngology at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, and The Children's Hospital of San Diego.

A native of New York, Shapiro has been honored with several prestigious awards, including the American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology Award for Clinical Research, the UCLA Division of Head and Neck Surgery Faculty Teaching Award, and the American Academy of Pediatrics Young Investigators Award.  She has also been named "Super Doctor" by Los Angeles Magazine, and has been listed in "Who's Who in America".  

She has authored over 70 peer-reviewed journal articles, has edited a pediatric otolaryngology textbook, and is the author of the parenting book Take a Deep Breath: Clear the Air for the Health of Your Child, releaseded in January 2012. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children, and enjoys spending time with them more than anything else in the world.

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