Croup is a common illness that affects young children. It occurs more often in the fall and winter months. It is characterized by a harsh, barking cough because of swelling in the voicebox and the breathing tubes that connect to the lungs. Sometimes people have difficulty breathing.
It is usually worse at night and is very scary for parents. However, in most cases, it does get better within a few days.
Croup is caused by different viruses. However, as children grow older, their lungs become stronger and croup becomes much less common. Your doctor can listen to your child’s lungs and diagnose croup very quickly. The doctor may check the oxygen level by using a pulse oximetry on the fingernail, which is not painful.
Sometimes running a humidifier or hot water steam helps to calm down the cough. Other times, cool night air is beneficial by taking your child outside for about 15 minutes.
If your child is getting worse, you should call your doctor or take them to the nearest emergency room. The doctor will determine if steroids, antibiotics, or other medications will help your child.
– Muhammad Emran, MD