Croup Symptoms and Treatment

The characteristics of croup include a seal-like barking cough, difficulty on breathing in, and excessive chest movement with breathing in a child. There is usually only a slight fever, and minimal pain in the throat.

Croup is caused by a viral infection of the throat, usually at a low level, so no abnormality is seen on examination of the throat through the mouth. The throat when examined by a mirror can be seen to be very swollen and partly blocking the airway. This is the cause of the typical cough.

The most effective treatment is placing the child in a warm, moist environment. The steam produced in a bathroom with a hot shower running is most effective, but commercial vaporizers can be used to produce steam in a bedroom. Other effective substitutes include a wet towel hung over an oil-filled space heater or a simmering crock-pot in the room. The other treatments required are paracetamol for any fever or discomfort, and adequate amounts of fluid to prevent dehydration. Antibiotics are not required unless a secondary infection develops. The vast majority of children recover spontaneously within a day or two. In more serious cases, a steam tent may be used in hospital to assist the breathing. Very rarely, the child may develop a severe degree of swelling in the throat that totally obstructs breathing. This is a critical emergency requiring life-saving procedures by a doctor.

More by this Author

  • Migraine Symptoms and Treatment

    A migraine may occur once in a person's life, or three times a week. They may cause a relatively mild head pain, or may totally disable the victim for days on end. Headaches can be caused by spasm of muscles in the...

  • Tinea Symptoms and Treatment

    Fungi are members of the plant family, and a limited number of them can cause infections in humans. The vast majority of fungal infections occur on the skin, but other commonly affected areas include the vagina, mouth...

  • Appendicitis Symptoms and Treatment

    Appendicitis is the inflammation of the vermiform appendix, a small pencil-like structure connected with the cecum, the first part of the large intestine. Appendicitis is caused by an obstruction and infection in the...


No comments yet.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Please Note:

    • The information provided on this page is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a registered physician or other healthcare professional.

    • The content of this page is intended only to provide a summary and general overview. Do not use this information to disregard medical advice, nor to delay seeking medical advice.

    • Be sure to consult with your doctor for a professional diagnosis and appropriate medical treatment.

    Click to Rate This Article