Croup is a viral infection that causes swelling of the larynx and trachea. The swelling makes it harder for children to breathe. Croup often begins suddenly, with the symptoms worsening at night. Croup may start like a regular virus, with a runny nose, fever, and cough, but the cough will soon change to a harsh, barking cough: some people describe it as sounding like a seal’s bark. Croup is most common in children aged between six months and five years.
Signs and symptoms
- Runny nose, fever, cough that develops into a harsh, bark, like the sound made by seals.
- Hoarse voice.
- A squeaky high-pitched noise (called stridor) when breathing in.
Call an ambulance IF
- -Your child is struggling to breathe.
- -Your child becomes very pale and drowsy.
- -Your child’s lips are blue.
- -Your child begins to drool or has difficulty swallowing.
Seek medical advice IF
- Your baby is under six months old.
- The skin between your child’s ribs or under their neck sucks in when they breathe in.
- -Your child makes a squeaky high pitched sound (stridor) when they are resting/sleeping.
- -Your child’s symptoms are worsening.
- -Your child is very distressed.
- -Your child’s croup lasts more than four days.
- – The stridor returns after your child has recovered from croup.
…and how to maintain perspective!
Croup is very common in young children, but it’s not usually serious. It is contagious. Mild croup does not require treatment and usually resolves in three to four days. More severe croup can be treated with oral steroids, which help to reduce the swelling of the airway. As your child grows up, the windpipe becomes stronger and bigger, and croup is less likely to develop.