Close look on croup

Fact Checked

Croup is a respiratory infection affecting children, usually during the fall and winter season. The condition generally affects children below 5 years of age and the symptoms are quite severe among children below the age of 3 years old.

Croup can last from 5-6 days depending on its severity. It might result to other complications such as pneumonia or ear infection. The condition is typically brought about by viruses such as parainfluenza, influenza, measles, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and adenovirus, but can be triggered by bacteria occasionally. Since it causes the upper airways to swell, it results to difficulty breathing.

Washing and drying hands thoroughly after caring for a child.

What are the indications?

  • Bark-like or harsh cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Stridor
  • High fever
  • Difficulty bending the neck
  • Restlessness or nervousness at night time or when it is difficult to breathe

Home care for croup

  • Do not allow anyone to smoke inside the house or when around the child
  • Provide the child with all the prescribed medications as instructed by the doctor
  • Ensure that the child has adequate rest
  • A cool mist vaporizer can be used to soothe dry and irritated airways

Consult a doctor once the symptoms of the child become worse or returns.

Medical care

If a child has a severe case of croup, hospitalization is required which includes adequate rest, breathing treatments, cool mist tent and medications that are given orally, by injection or intravenously.

Preventive measures

Croup can spread to others via physical contact or through the air. You can prevent the spread of the disease by:

  • Washing and drying hands thoroughly after caring for a child
  • Make sure to wash toys in between use
  • Encourage the child to cover his/her mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing
  • Discard any used tissues properly
  • Allow the child to stay at home when he/she is sick or if outbreaks occur

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on croup is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage this respiratory condition by taking a standard first aid course with Victoria First Aid.

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