Croup Treatment

What is croup?

Croup is a viral infection causing swelling of the upper airway of babies and children.

A baby lying down whilst holding their sock
a baby being examined with a stethoscope

Does my baby have croup?

Children with croup may have a ‘barking’ cough; breathing difficulty; a hoarse voice; and a rasping noise when inhaling. Cold symptoms like a runny or blocked nose, a cough, and a temperature are usually also present. Your child’s croup symptoms may be worse at night.

What to do if my baby has croup?

Usually symptoms are mild and subside within a few days. Looking after your child at home as with any viral illness, ensuring that they drink plenty of fluids and using pain relief is usually all that is needed.

a mother holding her baby whilst resting her head in her hand
a baby being examined with a stethoscope

When to see a doctor?

If you are worried about your baby, the symptoms are getting worse or not improving, you should see a doctor. In some cases an oral steroid medication or nebuliser may be needed to help ease the airway swelling and help ease breathing difficulty. Some children have recurrent episodes of croup and a medical assessment is recommended to ensure there are no other causes to the symptoms.

You should call 999 or go to your nearest accident and emergency department if; your child is displaying signs of severe breathing difficulty, which might involve their breathing sounding abnormal, or their stomach and chest wall appearing to suck in (recession); they develop a pale, blue or grey colour on their skin or lips; they get a very high temperature suddenly; or if they appear abnormally still and quiet.

Fortunately this kind of situation is rare and children make a quick and complete recovery.

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