First Aid: Croup
Croup is a viral infection in the upper airway, around the vocal cords and windpipe. Swelling in this area may cause a barking cough. Croup, most often seen in the late summer and fall, usually affects young children.
Signs and Symptoms
- a barking cough
- a high-pitched sound when breathing in (known as stridor)
- breathing harder than usual
- stuffy or runny nose
What to Do
- Run a hot shower to create a steam-filled bathroom where you can sit with your child for 20 minutes.
- Take your child outside during cooler months for a few minutes. This may help breathing.
- Use a cool-mist humidifier. Having your child breathe in the moist air will sometimes ease symptoms.
Get Medical Care If Your Child:
- has trouble breathing (breathing too fast or skin between the ribs is pulling in)
- has difficulty breathing
- has a pale or bluish color around the mouth
- drools or has difficulty swallowing
- becomes tired easily
Washing hands well and often and avoiding contact with people who have respiratory infections are the best protection against the spread of viruses that cause croup.