Croup, which is usually the result of a viral infection, causes the larynx and trachea to swell, resulting in a deep bark-like cough.
Most common among children between the ages of 6 months and 3 years, croup not as dangerous today as it once was. Fortunately, present day vaccines for measles, Hib, and diphtheria have eliminated some of the more serious types of croup.
The symptoms of croup are unmistakable. A child with croup will sound hoarse and have a very distinct deep cough. Many times, croup will come on several days after a cold sets in. The cough is worse at night and a child’s breathing is much laboured, and they will make a loud wheezing sound when inhaling.
In severe cases of croup, a child may need to be hospitalised. However, the average case of croup will last several days to one week and can be treated at home with a humidifier and children’s pain reliever. The doctor will not prescribe antibiotics for the croup as it is a viral infection. Over the counter cough medications will do nothing to help the swelling of the larynx and trachea. The only prescribed medication that can help is an oral steroid. Your doctor will determine if your child’ case of croup warrants this medication.
The virus that causes croup makes the condition contagious, so keep your child at home until they show no symptoms.