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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 severe breathing difficulties; dehydration; or secondary infection of the airway (pneumonia), windpipe (tracheitis), epiglottis (epiglottitis), lymph glands (lymphadenitis), or middle ear infection. Seek urgent medical attention if your breathing becomes rapid or causes the chest muscles to become sucked in against the ribs with each breath or if your child is agitated, restless, drooling, turning blue, or unusually pale or sleepy.

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About this article

Author: Lauren Donley BSc (Hons)
First answered: 18 Sep 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.6 out of 5
Votes: 816 (Click smiley face below left to rate)
Category: Croup


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