There is nothing worse than a 3 am google medical search… its scary, its unknown, its contradicting. Don’t take the chance of proper attention as it could be something serious like croup which needs to be treated immediately.

For new parents or parents that have not experienced croup in their home ; please take the time to read the below so you are educated and equipped if croup enters your home.

What is croup?

Croup is an upper respiratory condition caused by a viral infection. The virus causes swelling of the voice box and/or windpipe. This then leads to narrowing of the airway making it harder to breathe, causing a high pitched sound known as stridor, and a barking cough like a seal.

What age of children does it effect?

Croup mostly affects children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years. It also however is known to affect older children as well.

How to tell if it’s croup? What are the symptoms?

  • it usually begins as a simple cold i.e. cough/fever/running nose
  • the cough then becomes harsh and barky
  • the voice may become hoarse
  • children can make a high-pitched sound when breathing – known as stridor. Stridor can be when at rest or distressed/active
  • in severe croup, skin around ribs and upper neck tuck in > seek urgent medical attention in this instance

How to treat croup?

Home care

  • keep child warm and calm
  • use paracetamol or ibuprofen for fever
  • if unsettled stay with children overnight

Doctor management

  • croup is usually managed with steroids

When to see a doctor about croup? Is it necessary?

Call an ambulance if:

  • struggling to breathe
  • very sick, pale or drowsy
  • change of colour of lips – blue
  • drooling and not swallowing
  • if you are worried for any reason

Is croup infectious?

Croup itself is not spread as it is a reaction to a virus infection. The virus itself is infectious and can be spread through coughing/sneezing.

Key point to remember:

Croup can get worse very quickly and if your child is having problems breathing, get urgent medical assistance.

Information brought to you by Family Home Doctors