Croup is a contagious infection, caused by and often resulting from the same type of viruses as the common cold. The infection results in inflammation of the bronchial tubes and an increase in mucus.
- Sharp cough that sounds like a barking seal
- Breathing difficulty
- Retractions (skin over the rib cage being sucked in between ribs because of difficulty taking a breath)
- Temperature of 102°F or higher
- Dry mouth, decreased urination, or other signs of dehydration
Who is at risk?
Most common in young children in the fall and winter, croup usually goes away on its own; however, a small percentage of children require clinic or hospital treatment to ease breathing.
At home, try to keep the child calm and still, reducing activity. Use of a humidifier will make breathing easier, as well as 10 minutes of cool night air (dress warmly, though). Eliminate any smoking in the house and keep the patient well hydrated with water or ice. If the patient does not respond to home treatment, a doctor will want to apply a pulse oximeter on the finger to make sure enough oxygen is reaching the blood and possibly prescribe a medication to reduce airway swelling. Over-the-counter medicines and antibiotics are not effective in treating croup.
Emergency Warning Signs: When should I see a doctor?
See a doctor immediately if breathing difficulty persists for more than a few minutes. Call 911 if your child’s breathing is severely labored, if the child is not responding or interacting with you in a normal way, or if their color is gray or blue. These are ominous signs. You should NEVER put a child with severe respiratory difficulties in your own vehicle for the trip to the ED.
Treatment for croup is available now at Newport Urgent Care in Newport Beach, CA.
For more information on croup and respiratory health, see the following websites:
Everyday Health Solutions for Croup
CDC on Respiratory Health
Disclaimer: The links above are to sites independent of NewportUrgentCare.com. The pages will open in a new browser window. The information provided is for educational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your doctor. Always follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding your specific medical questions, treatments, therapies, and other needs.