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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 space available for air to enter the lungs. Air vibrates as it passes through the narrowed windpipe, causing the harsh, high-pitched noise when breathing in and a 'barking' sounding cough.

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About this article

Author: Dr Joanne Van der Velden PhD, BSc (Hons)
First answered: 14 Oct 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.3 out of 5
Votes: 814 (Click smiley face below to rate)
Category: Cough


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