First Aid: Croup

First Aid: Croup

First Aid

Croup is a viral infection in the upper airway, around the vocal cords and windpipe. Swelling in this area causes a barking cough. Croup, most often seen in the fall, can affect kids up to age 5.

Signs and Symptoms

  • a barking cough
  • a high-pitched sound when breathing in (known as stridor)
  • fast or difficult breathing
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • fever

What to Do

  • Use a cool-mist humidifier. Having your child breathe in the moist air will sometimes ease symptoms.
  • Run a hot shower to create a steam-filled bathroom where you can sit with your child for 20 minutes.
  • Take your child outside during cooler months for a few minutes. This may help breathing.

Seek Medical Care

If Your Child:

  • has difficulty breathing
  • has skin between the ribs pulling in with each breath
  • has a pale or bluish color around the mouth
  • drools or has difficulty swallowing
  • becomes tired easily

Think Prevention!

Frequent hand washing and avoiding contact with people who have respiratory infections are the best protection against the spread of viruses that cause croup.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: April 2014

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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