Croup strikes the house

My son recently had a case of croup that scared us pretty bad. It began with a mild cough that got progressively worse. By bedtime he was clearly pretty miserable and we brought him to sleep with us. We kept him propped up in bed because that seemed to help him breathe. He still didn’t do very well and was wheezing like a leaky bellows. Occasionally he sounded like he was choking and we’d both sit bolt upright and start whacking him on the back. That’d clear it for a second and he’d get a good cough and go back to sleep for another fifteen minutes. He also had a pretty bad fever which we treated with acetaminophen infant drops.

Not having any prior experience with these symptoms we just kept him home from school the next day and kept him under close observation. He seemed to have recovered completely and had a good long nap without any breathing problems. I decided not to take him to the doctor thinking that the worst had passed. However, come bedtime he was huffing and puffing all over again. We spent another sleepless night watching him like a hawk and I took him to the doctor in the morning.

Here are the things I learned from the doctor that should be in the children’s operator manual:

  • Croup is caused by a virus lodging in the throat and causing the tissues there to be inflamed and swell
  • It can impair breathing to a dangerous degree and needs to be treated immediately
  • It can be identified by the raspy wheezing sound during inhalation. (Bronchiolitis is similar but you hear the wheeze on exhalation).
  • The fever that attends it may need both acetaminophen and ibuprofen taken alternately in order to keep it under control, so have both in the cabinet just incase
  • Steroids given orally can dramatically reduce the swelling in the throat and remove the danger
  • It always gets worse around bedtime and seems to clear up during the day

After a two day course of steroids, cheratussin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen as directed by our pediatrician he was right as rain. It sure was scary though! Next time one of the kids is wheezing (inspiration or expiration) and has a fever I’m taking them to the doctor or after-hours clinic right away because chances are it’s either croup or bronchiolitis and needs to be treated.

The Label “Atheist”

Throughout this blog I will probably use the term “atheist” quite a lot. This is because everyone knows what it means, generally, and is therefor a useful term for discussion. I have pretty strong objections to it as a label for a group of people though. I don’t self-identify as an “atheist”, for example. For the same reason that I don’t label myself as a non-bigfoot-believer. It is utterly insufficient as a descriptive term for a human being. Since no human believes in all of the gods that have ever been invented by man every human is an atheist to some degree or another. I am myself only fractionally more atheist than Pat Robertson, for example. Also, since one has to be taught religious beliefs and isn’t born with them every human starts their life as an atheist. Continue reading

Netiquette Reference

While looking for a netiquette guide with which to reprimand an ALL CAPS comment poster I ran across this guide for children. It’s a pretty good guide for adults as well. It also points out a great technique that I haven’t had to think about yet because my children are too young. It suggests making your kids use fabricated profiles while online to thwart predators. I’m going to have to remember that for when they’re older. Maybe we can have some fun making up their profiles together.

Teething Can’t be Fun

My 10 month old son has really impressed me with his calm easy going nature…until now. He’s been getting his first teeth in for the last couple of weeks and it has really changed his personality. All of a sudden he’s a whole lot more fragile. If we can get him distracted with something else for a while he goes back to his normal self but most of the time he’s clearly very uncomfortable. It’s funny to think that getting one’s first teeth is a traumatic experience shared by all humanity (all mammalia for that matter) but there’s absolutely no bonding or commiseration about it because it happens before we develop long-term memory or the ability to speak. Hmmmmm. Well I hope it’s over soon; he’s just miserable.