Croup is a viral infection that is very common in young children. Those most at risk of getting croup are children between 6 months and 3 years of age.
Croup often begins just like a normal cold. The cough and other subsequent symptoms of croup are the result of inflammation and swelling around the vocal cords (larynx), windpipe (trachea) and bronchial tubes (bronchi). This swelling makes the airways narrower, so it is harder to breathe. If the inflammation and coughing is considerable, the child may develop a harsh, barking cough. Their voice may also become very hoarse and breathing may be noisy or laboured.
The condition can often become worse at night when the air is cooler. Some children get croup several times and it may last for three to five days.
Signs and symptoms:
- Croup often begins like a normal cold, including a runny nose and cough
- The cough may change to become more harsh and barking.
- The voice may be hoarse.
- Breathing may be noisy and can often have a squeaky sound when breathing in, called ‘stridor’.
- Symptoms often become worse at night and reach their peak on the second or third night of the illness.
- Croup will generally last for three to five days.
If your child is having problems breathing they should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible. They will be able to assess and diagnose their condition and provide the appropriate treatment.
For more detailed information on Croup please consult your doctor or visit these reputable websites:
The Sydney Children’s Hospital Network
Royal Children’s Hospital – Melbourne