Acute Spasmodic Laryngitis (Croup)


  1. General information
    1. Respiratory distress characterized by paroxysmal attacks of laryngeal obstruction
    2. Etiology unclear but familial predisposition, allergy, viruses, psychologic factors, and anxious temperament have been implicated
    3. Common in children ages 1-3 years
    4. Attacks occur mostly at night; onset sudden and usually preceded by a mild upper respiratory infection
    5. Respiratory symptoms last several hours; may occur in a milder form on a few subsequent nights
  2. Assessment findings
    1. Inspiratory stridor, hoarseness, barking cough, anxiety, retractions
    2. Afebrile, skin cool
  3. Nursing interventions
    1. Instruct parents to take the child into the bathroom, close the door, turn on the hot water, and sit on floor of the steamy bathroom with child.
    2. If the laryngeal spasm does not subside the child should be taken to the emergency department.
    3. After the spasm subsides, provide cool mist with a vaporizer.
    4. Provide clear fluids.
    5. Try to keep child calm and quiet.
    6. Assure parents this is self-limiting.

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