It may not come as a surprise but as a doctors I use Google quite a bit. There are of course other alternative search engines; “Just Google it” has been adopted into our lexicon, whilst “DuckDuckGo it” or “Dogpile it” doesn’t have the same ring, although some would argue they are better. But getting back to the topic.
During a consultation, I may turn to my computer and search Google for a picture to illustrate a point, for example, I think you have measles – see here is a picture of the rash in question. My consulting room is set up so we can both see the computer screen. That makes it hard to surreptitiously do a quick search as you talk. Don’t ask what happens when the computer isn’t working! My doodles are not art, but I do have books!
A boy born in Australia in 2010 has a life expectancy of 78.0 years while a baby girl born at the same time could expect to live to 82.3 years old. Right from the start, boys suffer more illness, more accidents and die earlier than their female counterparts.
Men take their own lives at four times the rate of women (that’s five men a day, on average). Accidents, cancer and heart disease all account for the majority of male deaths.
Seven leading causes are common to both males and females, although only Ischaemic heart disease shares the same ranking in both sexes (1st). Malignant neoplasms of prostate (6th), Malignant neoplasms of lymphoid, haematopoietic and related tissue (7th) and Intentional self-harm (10th) are only represented within the male top 10 causes.
The above figures are taken from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Furthermore, there are specific populations of marginalised men with far worse health statistics. These marginalised groups include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, refugees, men in prison or newly released from prison and men of low socioeconomic standing.
Men’s Health Week has a direct focus on the health impacts of men’s and boys’ environments. It serves to ask two questions:
What factors in men’s and boy’s environments contribute to the status of male health as indicated in the table above?
How can we turn that around and create positive environments in men’s and boy’s lives?
We’re going to ask and answer those questions this week. Stay with us online and in person – we’ve got your back!
(thanks to the Royal Childrens Hospital, Melbourne)
Croup is a condition caused by a viral infection. The virus leads to swelling of the voice box (larynx) and windpipe (trachea). This swelling makes the airway narrower, so it is harder to breathe. Children with croup develop a harsh, barking cough and may make a noisy, high-pitched sound when they breathe in (stridor).
Croup mostly affects children between six months and five years old, but it can affect older children. Some children get croup several times.
Croup can get worse quickly. If your child is having problems breathing, seek urgent medical attention.
Signs and symptoms of croup
Croup usually begins like a normal cold, e.g. fever, runny nose and cough.
Your child’s cough will change to become harsh and barking, and might sound like a seal.
Your child’s voice may be hoarse.
When your child breathes in, they may make a squeaky, high pitched noise, which is called stridor.
In severe cases of croup, the skin between the child’s ribs or under their neck may suck in when they breathe, and they may struggle to breathe.
Croup often begins without warning, in the middle of the night. The symptoms are often worse at night, and are at their worst on the second or third night of the illness. The signs and symptoms of croup may last for three to four days; however, a cough may linger for up to three weeks. The stridor should not persist.
Care at home
A mild attack of croup is when your child has the harsh, barking cough but does not have stridor when they are calm and settled, and they are not struggling to breathe. No medical treatment is necessary for mild croup, or the virus that has caused it. You can usually manage mild croup at home with the following care:
Keep your child calm, as breathing is often more difficult when upset – the more a child is distressed, the worse their symptoms can become. Try sitting quietly, reading a book, or watching TV.
If your child has a fever and is irritable, you may give them paracetamol or ibuprofen. See our fact sheet Pain relief for children.
Croup often becomes worse at night. Many children will be more settled if someone stays with them.
Steam and humidifiers are no longer recommended as treatment. There is no evidence to suggest they are beneficial.
When to see PartridgeGP
You should call an ambulance immediately if:
your child is struggling to breathe
your child looks very sick and becomes pale and drowsy
your child’s lips are blue in colour
your child starts to drool or can’t swallow.
You should see Your GP if:
your child is under six months old and has signs and symptoms of croup
your child’s breastbone or the skin between their ribs sucks when they breathe in
your child has stridor when at rest
your child is very distressed or their symptoms are getting worse
you are worried for any other reason.
If your child has mild croup that lasts for more than four days, or if stridor returns after your child has recovered from croup, take them to see a GP.
Your GP may prescribe steroids (e.g. prednisolone or dexamethasone) to be taken by mouth. The steroids help reduce the swelling in the airway, which will make breathing easier. Antibiotics do not work on viruses and are not given to children with croup.
If your child has severe croup, they will need to stay in hospital, where they will be closely watched.
How is croup spread?
Croup is a reaction to a virus, not a virus in itself, so children cannot ‘catch’ or spread croup. However, the virus that has caused the croup can be spread easily from person to person by coughing and sneezing. If your child has croup, you should keep them away from school and child care while they are unwell so that they don’t spread the virus that is causing the croup. Regularly washing hands thoroughly can help prevent the spread of viruses.
Key points to remember
No treatment is necessary for mild croup, or the virus that has caused it.
Croup usually gets better in three to four days.
Try to calm your child, as breathing is often more difficult when your child is upset.
Croup can get worse quickly. If your child is having problems breathing, seek urgent medical assistance.
In a severe attack of croup, your child needs to be watched closely in a hospital.