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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is croup?
Croup is a common childhood condition characterized by a barking cough and noisy breathing. It occurs when an infection with a virus causes inflammation and swelling of the voice box and windpipe, making it harder to breathe.
What are the symptoms of croup?
Croup often starts with symptoms of a common cold, including a cough, runny nose and mild fever. A characteristic barking cough and noisy breathing usually develop at night, often several days after the initial cold symptoms. Other symptoms may include a …
What causes the 'barking' cough heard in children with croup?
An infection with a virus triggers inflammation, swelling and increased production of mucus, which partly blocks the upper windpipe. Under these conditions, taking a breath in can cause the windpipe to collapse, narrowing the …
Is croup contagious?
The viruses that cause croup are contagious, spreading in droplets of fluid that have been sneezed or coughed by an infected person. Similarly, they can also be passed on by touching the skin of someone who is already infected, or by sharing contaminated towels, linen …
How is croup treated?
Croup is usually well-controlled with home management measures and corticosteroid medications. In most cases, symptoms clear within a week.
What can be done at home to treat croup?
Croup may be managed at home if symptoms are mild and not causing distress. Self-care options include using over-the-counter pain relief medication, plenty of rest and hydration.
Is croup serious?
The outlook for croup is usually very good when diagnosed and treated early. In most cases, the symptoms last for between three and seven days. Sometimes the cough may last for longer, but there is usually no permanent damage. However, in rare cases you can experience …
Can croup be prevented?
Croup may be prevented by avoiding contact with people who have a cold. Teaching children good hygiene habits, such as washing hands and covering their mouths when coughing or sneezing, can also help to prevent the spread of viruses. Vaccination against diphtheria …
About this article
Author: Lauren Donley BSc (Hons)
First answered: 18 Sep 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
Votes: 418 (Click smiley face below left to rate)