Croup is a viral infection that causes swelling in the windpipe and the vocal cords. The inflammation is usually caused by the same viruses that cause the common cold and influenza. Croup is more common and concerning in children between 6 months and 3 years of age and rarely occurs in children over 6 years of age. Croup usually lasts 5-6 days and is worse at night. The symptoms tend to peak on the second or third night. Croup may begin suddenly without warning symptoms and it also may begin as a cold that gradually escalates into a croupy cough. In this article, we are going to share the most common symptoms of croup.
1. Barking Cough: This type of cough is the most obvious sign of croup. Its sound is dissimilar to other coughs sound and it has a dry, barky seal that may be associated with a harsh, raspy sound during inspiration. It is usually worse at night as a child will sometimes awaken from sleep with a croupy cough.
2. Stridor: The most concerning symptom of croup is a distinct sound called Stridor. Stridor is a harsh, whooping, gasping sound that occurs when your child breathes in. Although this sound may cause parents to panic, they should keep calm to properly handle it. To handle this situation, you can bring you child into the bathroom, run the hot water in the shower for 15 minutes while letting your child breathe in the steam. This step will help soothe the inflammation and open the airways, calming the croup cough.
3. Fever: There can be a fever but it usually below 104 degrees. If this fever continues for more than a week, you should see a doctor as it is likely a bacterial infection has developed.
4. Hoarse Voice: A hoarse voice is a clear sign of croup that is caused by the inflammation of the tissue surrounding the voice box.
5. Heavy Breathing and Reactions: If the croup cough is more serious sounding and your child has labored breathing or retractions, which is the skin pulling between the ribs during breathing, your child’s croup symptoms may need to be treated at the hospital. Call the doctor or bring your child to the emergency room for treatment.