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Croup Treatment, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, And Prevention

Aug 28, 2023


Croup, also known as laryngotracheobronchitis, is a respiratory infection that primarily affects young children. Viral infections are frequently responsible for the disease. Tracheal and laryngeal hypertrophy are symptoms of croup in children. The swelling that constricts the airway below their vocal cords causes them to breathe noisily and laboriously.

The age groups most likely to get the sickness are infants and children under three. The prevalence of croup in young children has decreased over time. Breathing becomes less likely to be impeded by edema as a result of their widening windpipes.

A distinct cough brought on by croup may sound like a barking cough. Despite the fact that the disease is usually not severe, it might always get worse.

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Causes Of CROUP

A viral infection is the most frequent cause of croup. Parainfluenza, influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), measles, and adenovirus are some of the croup viruses. Your child may have trouble breathing if they have viral croup because it enlarges their upper airways. These viruses are widespread, though, and the majority of virally infected toddlers do not develop croup. Rarely, bacteria can exacerbate a viral infection and make breathing more challenging.

Also Read: Dyspnea: Causes, Symptoms, Types, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

Symptoms Of CROUP

Although symptoms of croup can worsen, it normally lasts less than a week and is quite mild. A runny or stuffy nose may be the first symptom, which often develops gradually. The barking cough may begin over the following 12 to 48 hours, and symptoms may get worse. Nighttime is typically when symptoms are worse.

The following mild croup signs also occur:

  • Hoarseness
  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Conjunctivitis, which causes red eyes
  • Lymph nodes that are swollen

Croup symptoms that range from mild to severe may include:

  • Breathe more difficult
  • Unease or anxiety
  • Retractions (sucking in the skin on top of the breastbone and around your child's ribcage)
  • Cyanosis (blue-tinted skin)

Also Read: Tachycardia: Causes, Symptoms, Types, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Risk Factors Of CROUP

The risk of croup is highest in children between the ages of 6 months and 3 years. Small airways in youngsters make them more likely to experience more croup symptoms. Children beyond the age of six are hardly ever affected by croup.

Transmission Of CROUP

The croup-causing viruses are airborne and spread quickly. When someone has a viral or bacterial infection that might lead to croup sneezes or coughs, they release respiratory droplets into the air that are contaminated with croup-causing microbes. 

Diagnosis Of CROUP

Typically, a medical professional will diagnose croup. The vendor:

  • Pay attention to your child's respiration.
  • utilizes a stethoscope to listen to your child's chest.
  • examine the throat of your child.
  • To rule out other potential ailments, doctors occasionally employ X-rays or other tests.

Also Read: Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation: How to Perform CPR, Types of CPR

Treatment Of CROUP

Croup is typically a mild condition that can be treated at home. Croup complications are extremely rare. Only 5% of youngsters with croup require hospitalization. Hospitalization due to your child's condition is possible if they:

  • They require oxygen therapy to maintain safe oxygen levels.
  • Require intravenous (IV, or through a vein) fluids because of extreme dehydration.
  • To offer comfort, inhaled breathing treatments must be administered many times.
  • Have serious symptoms despite receiving treatment initially.

Treatment for croup is based on your child's condition and the likelihood that it may quickly get worse. The treatment strategy can also be impacted if your child has a history of respiratory issues or was born too soon.

Mild croup

Mild croup is typically treatable at home. A cool mist humidifier can be used as a home remedy to relieve dry and irritated airways. Another option is to sit next to your child in a steamy bathroom that has hot water flowing in the shower. (Don't let your youngster play near the hot water or sit in the shower.) You need to speak with their doctor if mist treatment doesn't help your child's illness.

Other natural treatments for croup include:

  • opening a door or window at night so your youngster can breathe fresh air.
  • using an over-the-counter (OTC) drug to reduce your child's temperature, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil).
  • Use warm, clear liquids to soothe your child's cough in order to help the mucus on their voice cords relax.
  • Avoid smoking indoors because it can make your child's cough worse.
  • elevating your child's head with an additional pillow. (When dealing with babies under 12 months old, avoid using pillows.)
  • To ensure that you are there if your child experiences breathing difficulties, you might want to sleep in the same room as them.

Moderate to very severe croup

You should take your child to the closest ER or urgent care facility if they have moderate to severe croup.

You must take your child to the hospital right away if they have severe croup since it can be fatal. Depending on your child's symptoms, different treatments are available for mild to severe croup. 

Treatments for croup may consist of:

  • Oxygen or humid air.
  • IV fluids for rehydrating the body.
  • Monitoring the body's vital indicators, such as breathing, heart rate, and oxygen saturation.
  • Croup medications, such as glucocorticoids (steroids) and epinephrine (for nebulized breathing).
  • Mechanical ventilation involves inserting a breathing tube. This is uncommon.
  • Prescribed croup medicine
  • Your child's doctor will administer a glucocorticoid and an epinephrine nebulizer treatment if you bring your child to the doctor's office or the emergency department.


Within six hours of the initial dose, the steroid group known as glucocorticoids normally reduces your child's larynx's swelling. Glucocorticoids may lessen the requirement for a follow-up trip to the emergency room or doctor's office for a child with moderate croup.

Prednisolone and dexamethasone are the glucocorticoids that medical professionals utilize the most frequently. Usually, your child will only require one oral (given by mouth) dose. Dexamethasone may also be administered intravenously (IV) or intramuscularly (IM) if your kid vomits or has trouble swallowing the medication.

Epinephrine nebulizer therapy for breathing

Epinephrine will be administered to your child as a nebulizer-inhaled spray. Additionally, this lessens the swelling in your child's airways and typically begins to act within 10 minutes. If your child is experiencing severe symptoms, epinephrine may be administered every 15 to 20 minutes. It only works for two hours or less.

Also Read: Vasovagal Syncope: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

Prevention Of CROUP

A disease that will cause croup can be contracted by your youngster inhaling these droplets. Additionally, touching items that have croup-causing germs on them can give your child the flu. Transmission of croup can occur either through direct physical contact or airborne contact. To help halt the spread of it:

  • You should wash and completely dry your hands after holding your baby.
  • Clean the toys after every usage.
  • Remind your child to cover their mouth and nose when they sneeze or cough.
  • If an outbreak happens or your kid becomes ill, keep them home from creche or school.

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