Sunday, 27 July 2008

Croup - how to help

Most mums who have had a child with croup can recognise it straight away it causes a cough that is so distinctive that you will never forget it once you hear it. Croup is a swelling of the voice box and windpipe it can be caused by bacteria, or inhaled irritants, allergy, but more often it's the result of a virus and as such is contagious. Croup is most common in children between the ages of 6 months to 3 years, although a child can get croup at any age. The illness seems to be more prevalent between the months of October and March. Most cases of croup today are not serious, but a severe case can require hospitalization. If you suspect croup always get it checked out by a medical practitioner just to be certain.


  • A very hoarse, deep cough that sounds like a barking seal, this cough is very distinctive once your hear it you will know if you hear it again and any G.P. will pick it up just by listening to the bark
  • It often appears after several days of cold symptoms and usually worsens at night.
    they may also run a low fever
  • It is often worst the first two or three nights, and it usually goes away in a week or so.

Warning: if you child’s breathing is difficult or there is a change in the colour of your child’s lips to a bluish colour then it is best to get your child to hospital immediately.


If your child has a mild case of croup the doctor will give you advice as to how to improve the symptoms and possibly medication to help reduce the swelling. You must make every effort to keep your child hydrated so get as much fluid into them as you can. You can give children painkillers to help reduce the temperature but always check that they are suitable for your child. It may help if you take the child into a steamy bathroom for 20 min, this will help to open the air ways.

If your child has a severe case of croup that requires hospitalization, they may be given oxygen, a medication to inhale, or steroids to help reduce the swelling of the airways. They will probably be given intravenous fluids to combat dehydration.