What Do I Need to Know About Croup?

When or if your kids get croup, it can be scary. While croup itself isn’t a very harmful infection, it sounds harmful, due to the eerie, barking cough that kids experience when they get this infection.

Our AFC Urgent Care Gastonia team provides more info on croup below, so keep reading!

What Is Croup?

Croup is a respiratory infection that is most often caused by the parainfluenza virus. It causes upper respiratory inflammation and swelling, which can result in noisy, difficult breathing and a loud, “barking” cough.

Children are most likely to get croup between 3 months and 5 years of age, and this infection rarely affects those outside this age group. Croup most often occurs during this time of year, and we’ve listed the most common symptoms below.

Common Croup Symptoms

  • A runny, stuffy nose
  • A cough that turns into a “seal’s bark”
  • Laryngitis
  • Fever
  • A whistling sound when breathing, which is often referred to as “stridor”

How Can I Treat Croup?

Since croup is most often caused by a virus, it will usually have to run its course before it fully goes away. Croup typically lasts between three and five days, but it can sometimes extend to a week or two.

If your child has croup, be sure to practice the treatments that we’ve listed below. If it has been a week and your child’s cough and croup symptoms aren’t getting better, don’t hesitate to visit our AFC center for further treatment.

Ways to Treat Croup at Home

  • Hold your child in a comfortable upright position. Sitting upright may make breathing easier.
  • Make sure your child is staying hydrated. Water can work to flush out all types of infections, including croup.
  • Encourage rest. Sleep can help your child fight the infection.
  • Try a fever reducer. If your child has a fever, OTC medications like acetaminophen can help.
  • Skip the cold medications. OTC cold medicines aren’t recommended for children of any age, and they can be harmful in children less than 2 years of age. Plus, they won’t help croup.

Is your child feeling under the weather? If so, don’t hesitate to reach out to our AFC center to get the care he or she needs!