Signs & Symptoms
Your child will probably have a hoarse voice and a cough that sounds like barking. The cough often starts at night. Your child may also have a fever or noisy breathing.
What causes it
Croup is a viral infection of the vocal cords, voice box and windpipe.
About the condition
Croup is a viral infection of the vocal cords, voice box and windpipe. It makes the breathing passages in the throat and windpipe swell and get narrower.
Without treatment, croup usually gets worse in the first 3 days before it stabilizes. It usually lasts for 5 to 7 days and generally is worse at night.
Bring your child to a doctor if:
- Your child has difficulty breathing, rapid breathing or noisy breathing.
- Your child is unable to drink or feed.
- Your child is drooling.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
- Your child will be given acetaminophen (paracetamol) if he or she has a fever over 38.0°C and is uncomfortable from the fever.
- Do not give your child medicine, such as cough syrup, unless it was prescribed your child's doctor.
The foggy bathroom: Warm moist air seems to work best to relax the vocal cords. Have warm shower running with the bathroom door closed. Once the room is all fogged up, take your child into the humidified bathroom for at least 10 minutes.
How can you help your child feel better?
Your child may be upset and frightened because he or she cannot breathe very well. The sound of the cough can be frightening too. Here are some things you can do to help your child feel better:
- Stay calm. This will help your child stay calm too, which will help his or her breathing
- Sit your child upright on your knee. Or, you can put some pillows behind your child's head and back while he or she is in bed. This may make it easier for your child to breathe
- If your child has a fever, give him or her lots to warm fluids to drink.
- You can give your child paracetamol if he or she has a fever over 38.0°C and is uncomfortable from the fever.
- Do not give your child other medicines, such as a cough syrup, unless it was prescribed by your child's doctor.
- Avoid smoke exposure.