Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Croup Overview

What is croup?
A child with croup has an infection that causes inflammation of the windpipe, which causes a barking cough. Occasionally, croup can cause narrowing of the windpipe, which results in severe difficulty breathing. Most cases of croup resolve without treatment within 7 days. Croup is very common in children between 6 months and 4 years old.

What are the symptoms of croup?
Croup usually begins like a common cold. After 2 to 3 days of cold symptoms, a barking cough begins. Other symptoms of croup include nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and fever. Croup causes noisy breathing during inhalation, referred to as stridor. Severe croup can cause breathing difficulty and rapid breathing.

How does the doctor treat croup?
Treatment for croup includes a vaporizer or cool mist nebulizer. Other treatment measures include inhaled epinephrine treatments and oral corticosteroids. Acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications may be used for fever control.

Continue to Croup Incidence

Last Updated: Aug 18, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Croup References
  1. Bjornson CL, Klassen TP, Williamson J, Brant R, Mitton C, Plint A, Bulloch B, Evered L, Johnson DW; Pediatric Emergency Research Canada Network. A randomized trial of a single dose of oral dexamethasone for mild croup. N Engl J Med. 2004 Sep 23;351(13):1306-13. [15385657]
  2. Custer JR. A randomized trial of a single dose of oral dexamethasone for mild croup. J Pediatr. 2005 Mar;146(3):434-5. [15756240]
  3. Griffin S, Ellis S, Fitzgerald-Barron A, Rose J, Egger M. Nebulised steroid in the treatment of croup: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Br J Gen Pract. 2000 Feb;50(451):135-41. [10750214]
  4. Johnson D. Croup. Clin Evid. 2004 Dec;(12):401-26. [15865647]
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