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Signs & Symptoms


Children with croup often exhibit a hoarse voice and a distinct cough that resembles barking. The cough typically begins at night. Your child may also experience a fever and exhibit noisy breathing.

What causes it

Croup is caused by a viral infection affecting the vocal cords, voice box (larynx) and windpipe (trachea).

About the condition

Croup leads to swelling in the breathing passages of the throat and windpipe, causing them to narrow. If left untreated, the condition typically worsens over the first three days before stabilising. Croup generally lasts five to seven days and is more severe at night.

If your child displays any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention:

  • Difficulty breathing, rapid breathing or noisy breathing.
  • Inability to drink or feed.
  • Excessive drooling.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
  • If your child has a fever over 38.0°C and is uncomfortable, acetaminophen (paracetamol) may be administered.
  • Avoid giving your child medication such as cough syrup, unless prescribed by the doctor. 
Care tips

The foggy bathroom method: Warm, moist air can help relax the vocal cords. Run a warm shower with the bathroom door closed to create a humidified environment. Bring your child into the bathroom for at least ten minutes.

Comforting your child:

  • Remain calm. This will help your child stay relaxed, aiding in easier breathing.
  • Keep your child in an upright position, either on your lap or propped up with pillows in bed, to facilitate breathing.
  • Offer plenty of warm fluids if your child has a fever.
  • Administer paracetamol for fever over 38.0°C if your child is uncomfortable.
  • Refrain from giving medications other than those prescribed by your child's doctor.
  • Avoid exposing your child to smoke.
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