Croup is a viral infection of the voice box (larynx) and windpipe (trachea, bronchi). Swelling of the voice box causes hoarseness of voice and a “barking” cough. There can also be the presence of stridor, a high-pitched, squeaking sound heard when your child breathes in, and may be more obvious with crying or coughing. Stridor occurs as the opening between the vocal cords becomes narrower. As the disease becomes worse, stridor may be heard even when your child is asleep or relaxed. There may also be wheezing or crepitations (phlegm sound) when your child’s doctor listens to his/her chest with a stethoscope. There is usually also accompanying cold symptoms such as fever or runny nose.
Croup is a viral infection of the larynx and windpipe which causes a cough with a “barking” sound
How Long does Croup in Babies and Children Last?
Croup usually lasts for 3 to 7 days, and the symptoms are worse in young children under 3 years of age.
How to Treat Children and Babies with Croup
Medications: Your doctor may prescribe an anti-inflammatory steroid (either oral or nebulised) to reduce the swelling of the windpipe and vocal cords. In severe cases, an inhalation treatment with nebulised adrenaline and oxygen may also be given.
General: As with all viral infections, ensure lots of fluids and rest for your child. Most cases of croup are mild, and do not require hospitalisation.
Warm, moist air: You can run a hot shower to create a steam-filled bathroom where you can sit with your child for 5-10 minutes. This can sometimes help your child breathe easier and reduce coughing bouts.
Smoke exposure: Avoid having anyone smoke near your child, as this may make their symptoms worse.
Close observation: You may consider sleeping in the same room as your child when he is ill, so that you can monitor him/her more closely.
When should I Bring My Baby or Child to a Doctor?
Consult your child’s doctor early if:
Your child’s breathing is fast or difficult
Your child’s stridor recurs or is persistent
Your child is lethargic
There is poor feeding and there are signs of dehydration (dry lips/mouth, reduced tears, sunken eyes, reduced urine, reduced activity)
Your child appears pale or blue – LATE SIGN!
Your child has an underlying medical problem (eg. prematurity, heart or lung disease, muscle weakness etc.)
The symptoms persist for more than a week
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