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What is Croup?

What is Croup?


Everything you need to
know about Croup

Croup is a disorder in which your baby’s upper airways become irritated and swell. Your child will have difficulty breathing when the airway below their voice chords narrows. Their respiration will be boisterous, and they will cough in a high-pitched seal or dog bark-like manner. Their voice will be raspy and hoarse, particularly when they scream.

Croup is usually caused by an infection. This disorder is divided into two types: viral and spasmodic. Laryngotracheobronchitis is another name for it.

Symptoms of Croup

Croup is generally preceded by a cold. Your youngster may have a fever and a runny or congested nose. However, it won’t be long until your child’s symptoms morph into something different.

Croup is mainly caused by a virus. It can be transmitted to your child by inhaling infected droplets or contacting a germy surface and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth. Here are some symptoms that your child may be suffering from croup:

  • A cough that sounds like a bark
  • A hoarse or raspy voice
  • Noisy, laboured breathing
  • Fever (in some cases)
  • Rash
  • Eye redness
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Croup symptoms are typically severe at night and last 3 to 5 days.


Croup is usually diagnosed by having your child examined and listening to their symptoms. However, tests may be required to rule out other possibilities. The doctor who treats your child may:

  • Listen to their breathing
  • Examine the inside of their throats
  • Enquire about any previous illnesses or respiratory issues
  • Check for something caught in their throat using an X-ray
  • Check their oxygen levels in the blood


In the fall and early winter, croup is more common. It occurs more frequently in boys than in girls. The most vulnerable are babies and children aged 3 months to 5 years. The illness is communicable, particularly in the first few days or until your child’s fever has subsided.

Any virus that affects the voice box (also known as the larynx) and windpipe cause viral croup (the trachea). Parainfluenza is the most common cause of croup. At first, the symptoms are modest, but they worsen over time.

Spasmodic croup is a rare condition. It appears out of nowhere, usually in the middle of the night. It could be due to an allergy or gastric reflux, according to doctors. When the contents of your baby’s stomach travel back up into their oesophagus, this occurs.

A cough that sounds like croup can be caused by a variety of factors. It’s possible that your toddler inhaled something containing small particles, such as powder or flour. Their throat may swell shut as a result of a food allergy. Call 999 immediately if you suspect a food allergy. Symptoms of other illnesses, such as epiglottitis or bacterial tracheitis, are similar.


Croup is usually minor and does not necessitate hospitalisation.

If your child’s croup symptoms last more than a week, if he or she has underlying medical problems (e.g., heart or lung illness, muscle weakness, etc. ), or if your child exhibits the following symptoms, you should seek medical help right away:

  • Fast or difficult breathing
  • Stridor
  • Decreased activity and lethargy
  • Poor feeding with signs of dehydration
  • Drooling or difficulty swallowing
  • Blue or grey skin around the nose, mouth or fingernails

When to call a doctor

If your symptoms do not improve or worsen after 3 to 5 days, see your doctor. If your kid has any of the following symptoms, see your doctor immediately:

  • When they breathe in or out, they make a loud, high-pitched breathing sound called stridor by specialists
  • Drools excessively or has difficulty swallowing
  • Is nervous or anxious, or lacks energy
  • Breathes considerably more quickly than usual
  • Is having trouble breathing (chest muscles pull in)
  • Around their lips, under their nose, mouth, or fingernails, they become bluish or black.

Dehydration is evident, as seen by dry lips and tongue, as well as a lack of urine flow. If they visit the doctor, they may be prescribed a breathing therapy or steroids to reduce swelling in their throat and keep their airway open.


Croup can be a distressing experience for your child. However, the majority of minor cases of this ailment can be managed at home. If your baby has croup, here are four ways to make them feel better.

  • Keep the child calm. Croup causes your child’s airways to become irritated and narrowed. It may be difficult for them to breathe as a result of this. However, the more they weep and become worked up, the worse their symptoms grow. Maintain as much calm as possible for your infant. Read stories to them, sing to them, and snuggle with them.
  • The air should be moistened. To wet dry air, use a cool-mist humidifier. Run a hot shower in your bathroom if you don’t have a humidifier. Sit in the bathroom with your infant for 10 minutes after the air is pleasant and humid. It might be able to assist them to get rid of their cough. Open a door or window for a few minutes if it’s cool outdoors. Fresh, chilly air may also help to alleviate their discomfort. You may even take your infant on a ride in the car with the windows down.
  • Keep them hydrated. If your kid has croup, it’s critical to keep them hydrated. Warm, clear fluids can assist release mucus and relieve vocal cord pressure. Give them modest quantities of fluid with a spoon or medicine dropper if they’re extremely young or really irritable.
  • Maintain an elevated position for them. When your child goes to bed, use an additional pillow to prop up their head. Pillows should not be used with babies under the age of 12 months. You might also consider sleeping in the same room as your child so that you can detect any respiratory issues immediately away.

If your child’s discomfort does not improve, ask your doctor if it’s safe to give him or her an over-the-counter pain reliever such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Inquire about the proper dosage for your child. A child should never be given aspirin. Aspirin use in children has been associated with Reye’s syndrome, a life-threatening condition.