Advanced search

Mumsnet hasn't checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have medical concerns, please seek medical attention; if you think your problem could be acute, do so immediately. Even qualified doctors can't diagnose over the internet, so do bear that in mind when seeking or giving advice.

a very frightening night......

(18 Posts)
emilys Thu 29-Aug-02 10:42:12

Last night i experienced one of the most frightening moments of my life - i thought i would share it with you all in case it ever happens to you and you don't know what to do.

dh & 1 were lying in bed chatting last night and we heard a very starnge noise from ds bedroom, i honestly thought it was a dog barking, i ran in to find him (2.5yrs) sitting on his bed, face contorted, legs kicking, unable to breathe. Every 10 secs or so there was this strange 'barking' noise. I went into panic overdrive and was hitting his back as i thought he had something stuck in his throat, while dh called an ambulance. After what seemed an extrememly long couple of mins (maybe 1 1/ mins) he took a breath in but again accompanied by a very strange noise and then a deep heavy wheezing, he sound like a 90yr old asmatic. He has never had astma, he didn't even have a cough or cold and was completely well and happy when i put him to bed. The ambulance turned up about 10 mins later by which point ds had been taking very painful, noisy and what seemed 'disturbed' breaths and struggled with them.

I was very shocked when the ambulance man said 'well he's probably got a cold' i KNEW this was much worse than that and i knew he had been completely well just hours before. He was still wheezing very heavily so they took us to the local A&E. The staff there were fantastic and saw to him straight away. They, after much deliberation, concluded that it was croup. The gave him a vapouriser which seemed to clear the air ways in his throat. It was all a bit of a blur but i think that what happens with croup is that it literally does block the air passages in the throat so can be very dangerous, but can sometimes sort itself out. It is frightening how it can suddenly come from nowhere with no warning. After 3hrs at the hospital, loads of attention, bouts of vapourisers and more bubble blowing with the nurses than you can imagine he was back to his old self. This morning he just thought he went on a bit of an adventure in the middle of the night!

But at the time it was terrifying and it's one of those things you don't tend to hear so much about. So beware all you lot in case you ever have to go through it, the worst thing was his little face when he just couldn't inhale, not knowing what to do next and being so helpless for him - i wouldn't want anyone else to have to go through it. It did remind me that i MUST get on with that baby resuscitation course before dd is born in december.....

emilys Thu 29-Aug-02 10:52:36

having just done a bit of on-line research on croup i remembered where i had seen it before - Terms of Endearment when Debra Winger shuts herself in a steamy bathroom with one of her babies trying to steam it out - while Shirley Maclaine moans down the phone to her about nutty next door neighbour Jack Nicholson. If only i had known that last night!!

ionesmum Thu 29-Aug-02 11:07:55

Oh my word. Thank goodness he's okay- are you okay? Dd had a cold at 7 weeks and was unable to breath through her nose, at 3 a.m. we rung the emergency doctor and he told us to get in a steamy bath with her. The transformation was instant, I can remember being wiped out and crying tears of relief at as my little one went back to her normal colour and smiled up at me! My dh has the most hideous cold at the moment and I'm trying frantically to keep dd and I away from him.

Hughsie Thu 29-Aug-02 11:08:53

Sounds terrifying. My dd suffered a less severe bout and the steam in the bathroom did help - I hate to say this but they continue to be prone to such attacks and any chest infection can result in the barking cough which usually sounds far worse than it actually is.
I hope you dont experience it again.

susanmt Thu 29-Aug-02 11:19:40

My dh has been called out several times to one poor little boy in his practice who is prone to croup. His Mum is great with it now, and the last time she called she already had the hot tap running! I remember asking him about it at the time (always worried and looking for tips) and he said if you suspect croup get in a steamy room and phone an ambulance, and thats all you can do - this mum phones the GP as they now have a plan and anyway she lives an hour from hospital but only 15 mins from us, and dh carries a nebuliser as part of his emergency kit (kindly donated by a patient!)

ks Thu 29-Aug-02 11:22:24

Message withdrawn

Bozza Thu 29-Aug-02 11:51:22

Emilys it sounds awful. It makes my two bad nights with poorly DS seem quite insignificant. Will definitely remember about the steam though.

Jaybee Thu 29-Aug-02 12:06:45

Emilys - sounds like you had an awful night - hope ds is ok now. My dd used to suffer with croup - I used to sit in the downstairs loo with an old kettle that would not switch off and the steam steriliser with the lid off (kept hold of this for ages after I stopped sterilising purely for these nights!!) - topping up both regularly kept the steam going. As the room was the smallest in the house, steam very quickly built up.
The hours I have spent sitting on the loo -sweating buckets, singing to dd to amuse her!! My neighbours must have thought I was batty!!

Mooma Thu 29-Aug-02 12:44:52

Hi Emilys, thought you'd be interested to know that there was a previous thread about the dreaded croup here . I know from experience how suddenly this can come on, and how panicked it can make you feel

SofiaAmes Thu 29-Aug-02 21:07:19

I went through this with my son when he was 9 mo. or so. Luckily, being a little paranoid while pregnant I had already researched every possible disease my ds could get in his entire lifetime so that I would be prepared when it happened. Though even knowing what it was, and what to do I was still scared. My advice had been to alternate steamy bathroom with trips into the cold night air. It certainly worked. But I still went to the gp the next day, who prescribed antibiotics (which I never used as croup is almost always viral and it was over at that point anyway). Croup can be dangerous, so I'm glad to hear that all went well for you emilys.

PamT Thu 29-Aug-02 21:16:07

Emilys, this happened to us too when DS1 was 6. He started that awful barking and couldn't breathe. We rushed him to hospital when he collapsed on the landing and turned blue. The cold night air did help quite a lot but he still needed treatment overnight and was kept in hospital until the following day, coming home with a very hoarse voice. I just stood there like a gibbering wreck but fortunately DH was home and took him straight to A & E (I had to stay at home with DS2 and DD who was only 2 weeks old at the time). Hopefully it will never happen to you again but at least if it does, you will be better prepared to deal with it.

crystaltips Thu 29-Aug-02 21:27:26


I'll tell you it's so scary for the parents isn't it ? The first time my DS had croup he was 9 months. Sad to say he did not grow out of it until he was about 8 ( fingers crossed as he is now 9 )....
Here's the advice bit :

a ) BOOTS do a great vapouriser that emits menthol into the air when switched on ... this really helped with DS's croup. WHen it's a damp night or the child has got a cold this will help stop the on-set of croup.

b ) Karvol and Vicks comes a close second

c ) When croup does hit - leave a boiling kettle / steriliser in the room to release as much steam as possible ( damp conditions are the best )

d ) a friend of mine swore by opening the window ( even in the heart of winter ) as the cool air helped soothe the airways.

e ) ( Actually the most important ) STAY CALM - as soon as you panic your DS will panic and his airways will constrict - my DS really relaxed with a massage ( don't we all )
f ) Watch out for tell tale signs ... My DS used to get an attack with a cold. BUT he also got an attack after a great day on the beach - he was still without a T-shirt when the sun had gone down and this might have put a chill in his chest.

All my instructions sound like I am scaremongering - I am not - but with a little thought you can get away without too many problems!

My DS never suffered the day after an attack - but some children do get a cough for a few days and some sound like they have lost their voices.

Last thing - Get the Boots vapouriser - it turned my life around !

HTH and Good Luck

sb34 Thu 29-Aug-02 23:03:18

Message withdrawn

emilys Fri 30-Aug-02 14:05:32

thank you everypone for your advice and support. I am amazed at how common it seems to be yet i had never heard it talked about before. I'll definately be a bit better porepared next time. Have also booked my St Johns baby and children first aid course. thanks again everyone.

Rhubarb Mon 02-Sep-02 14:38:11

I must admit I had vaguely heard of croup but never actually knew what it was. Thanks emilys for the info, it might come in useful to me one day - although I really hope not! Glad your ds is now well. What a nightmare it all sounds and how horrible the ambulance man was to you!

JayTree Mon 02-Sep-02 14:49:27

Thank you so much emilys for sharing this one with us. I have heard of croup before but had not really understood the symptoms let alone courses of action to take. No wonder you were terrified. I am so happy that it has ended ok for you and hope you catch up on your sleep soon. I feel a lot more informed now thanks to your posting and all the responses.

emilys Mon 02-Sep-02 15:47:53

i genuinely didn't start this thread as a sympathy trip but more of a warning to others - so jaytree and rhubarb i'm glad if it had done that. had i known of croup i would probably of reacted far morecalmly at the time.

Rhubarb Mon 02-Sep-02 16:26:18

Well thanks to you if we get put into that situation we will know what it is and what to do. Your thread could just save a lot of panic and, not being too melodramatic, it could save a life!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: