Croup cough is a common childhood illness in which a viral infection causes the larynx, windpipe (trachea), and bronchial tubes to swell. Children between 3 months and 5 years old are most vulnerable to croup, though symptoms can sometimes affect older children.1‘Croup in Children.’ Cedars, www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions—pediatrics/c/croup-in-children.html.
Parents can understandably be worried by the hoarse cough and raspy breathing, but it's important to remain calm. When a child with croup feels panicked, symptoms can actually worsen. Most cases of croup can be safely treated at home, and understanding the illness can help parents manage croupy kids calmly and confidently.2‘Home Treatments For Croup That Will Help Your Child’s Barking Cough.’ University of Utah Health, healthcare.utah.edu/the-scope/shows.php’shows=0/bo3b8lay.
1. Symptoms of Croup
The most distinctive symptom of croup is a seal-like, barking cough. There may be a high-pitched creaking or whistling sound when the child breathes in, called stridor. A child with croup often loses their voice. Other symptoms mirror a cold, with runny rose, fever and sore throat.
The symptoms can vary depending on the time of day and whether the infection is currently in the nose or lungs. Often symptoms are worse at night and may temporarily improve in the mornings. Symptoms tend to last for three to seven days.1‘Croup in Children.’ Cedars, www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions—pediatrics/c/croup-in-children.html.