Dr. M.J. Bazos MD,
What is croup?
Croup is an infection that causes
the trachea (windpipe) and larynx (voice box) to swell. It is usually part of a
Croup causes a fever, hoarseness
and a barking, hacking cough. It also may cause a crowing noise (called stridor)
when the child breathes in through the narrowed windpipe. Croup usually lasts 5
to 6 days. Symptoms may be worse at night. Croup symptoms most commonly occur in
children 1 to 3 years old.
should I do if my child has croup?
Most children with mild croup can
be treated at home. You should make your child as comfortable as possible. Make
sure that your child gets plenty of rest and plenty to
When your child has a croupy
cough, it is very important to increase the amount of liquids that your child
drinks. Cough medicines are generally not recommended. You may give your child
acetaminophen (brand names: Children's Tylenol, Infants' Tylenol) for his or her
chest discomfort or discomfort due to fever.
If your child has a mild attack of
stridor, try having him or her breathe moist air. This is called mist treatment.
You can give your child a mist treatment at home in 1 of 2 ways:
- Have your child breathe through a warm, wet
washcloth placed over the nose and mouth.
- Run hot water in your shower with the bathroom
door closed. Once the room has become steamy or has fogged up, sit with your
child in the room for about 10 minutes. Sometimes it helps to take your child
outdoors for 10 minutes or for a drive in the car.
When should I call
Most children with
croup will get better with treatment at home. But some will need treatment in
the hospital. Watch your child closely and call your doctor if:
- Your child starts drooling or has trouble
- Your child's lips and skin are bluish or turn
- Your child's breathing doesn't sound better after
- Your child is cranky or is constantly
- Your child's breathing becomes more difficult.
- Your child seems to feel worse.
- You are worried.