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'Bachelor' alum shares warning about a common baby virus

Lesley Murphy's 4-month-old daughter woke up in the middle of the night with a "really loud barking cough."
/ Source: TODAY

Former “Bachelor” contestant Lesley Murphy is opening up about the scary 36 hours she had with her 4-month-old daughter, Nora.

“At 9pm she started developing this really loud barking cough,” Murphy, 33, wrote in an Instagram on Saturday. “By midnight, her breathing seemed slightly shallow but I figured that was just the congestion building.”

When Nora woke up “gasping for air,” at 2 a.m., Murphy and her fiancé, Alex Kavanagh, knew it was time to head to the emergency room.

The infant was soon diagnosed with croup, a viral illness that causes irritation and inflammation around the vocal cords and the airway below them. Kids with croup have a telltale seal-like barking cough.

Nora was given breathing treatments and steroids, and spent a night at the hospital being monitored by doctors.

“When she wakes, she goes between being in good spirits and struggling a little bit,” Murphy, a travel blogger, wrote. “It’s a rollercoaster.”

On Sunday, Murphy announced that her brave little girl had been discharged from the hospital.

“This super crouper (as our nurse affectionately calls her) is still fighting. It’s the worst feeling watching my baby struggle to breathe,” Murphy shared. “I’m always here to share not only the cute, smiley photos but also the really challenging times in case it helps anyone else. As a new mom, I had no clue what was happening at 2am early Saturday morning.”

Croup typically strikes children between 6 months and 5 years of age on average, according to Dr. Jane Sneed, a pediatrician at The Children’s Clinic in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Woman with baby on her lap
Lesley Murphy announced on Sunday that "Nora is starting to feel better."@lesleyannemurphy / Instagram

Sneed previously told TODAY Parents that if a child has undying airway anomalies or chronic lung disease, you should head to an emergency room right away. For otherwise healthy children, Sneed suggested turning your bathroom into a steam room.

“Most parents make a pallet on the bathroom floor and do this for 30 to 60 minutes,” she said. “It frequently helps, and they can do this as long as needed.”

Sneed also recommends keeping children elevated

Murphy, who appeared on Sean Lowe’s season of the Bachelor, welcomed Nora with her fiancé in February.