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This is my first blog post about my daughter, Olivia, who is 21 months old. She has been very sick over the past couple of days and last night she woke up just after 11PM with a very load and harsh cough that sounded like barking. She was shaking, sweaty, exhausted and her breathing was very strained.

Worried that her airway closing could be very dangerous I quickly Googled her cough and found that I should sit with her in a hot and steamy bathroom. I had my husband turn the shower on for us and meanwhile I called the after hours care line for our Pediatrician. The nurse said that this is definitely a case of croup and told me to sit in a hot steamy bathroom with her to help her catch her breath and if that didn’t work to wrap her in a blanket and stand right in front of the open refrigerator.

Thankfully, the hot steam worked. When I say it worked I mean that she stopped coughing and shaking, and her breathing slowed. She still had the barking cough and a temperature. I was instructed to give her ibuprofen for the temperature and to sleep in her room for the rest of the night to monitor her breathing. I had no choice on sleeping in her room. Olivia wouldn’t let me go so we slept in the chair in her room together, her on my chest.

The things the nurse said to look out for are shaking fits that last longer than 30 minutes (a fever is on the rise and won’t break) and/or a loud wheezy breathing when sleeping. Neither of these things occurred last night, thankfully.

The nurse said that croup can last 5-6 days, and typically coughing fits start when a child is sleeping. This is because they are lying horizontally in bed and it also may be related to thumb sucking. Thumb sucking could cause a child to breathe through their nose, which may be stuffy and therefore not pull enough oxygen into the lungs.

Today Olivia seems to be in good spirits, but is very lethargic and won’t eat anything. She also still has an awful barking cough. She’s infectious for up to 24 hours after her last fever and she was hot this morning when she woke up so I’m thinking she’s still contagious. Poor little thing!

I’ve never been more scared than I was last night that my little one couldn’t breathe. Olivia is my heart living outside of my body, and I don’t know what I’d do without her. Thank goodness for after hours emergency nurse service. Even though I didn’t find out any new things I could do to help make Olivia more comfortable, I learned that she was going to be OK. Peace of mind can be invaluable.

Thanks for listening to my story. I was so scared and I hope that it can help others who may experience this with their child, or who know what it’s like to love a parent or child in the way that I love Olivia.