What is Croup

Croup is a viral infection of the upper part of the airway and voice box. It is most common in younger children and is associated with low-grade fever, hoarseness and a loud barking cough. Although croup is usually not serious, occasionally a child with croup can have an attack with breathing difficulty especially at night. During these attacks, the child will have difficulty drawing his/her breath in.

Treatment of Croup:

Give the child plenty of clear liquids and use a vaporizer to keep the secretions moist (a cool mist is recommended). Treat the fever with acetaminophen (Tempra, Tylenol, see Dosing Guide). During an attack of breathing difficulty, place the child in the bathroom, turn the shower on hot and fill the room with steam. Fifteen to 20 minutes in this environment will often relieve the attack.  If these measures fail to help and he/she continues to have difficulty breathing, you should see your physician.

If your child develops an inability to swallow manifested by constant drooling and has the above symptoms of barky cough, fever (usually high), hoarse voice and difficulty breathing, he/she may have a serious bacterial infection of the throat called epiglottitis. Seek help immediately if this occurs.