Infectious Diseases: Croup


Croup often begins like a common cold. Later, however, there is fever, cough and difficulty breathing. The lining of the throat and larynx gets red and swollen, and a cough develops that sounds like barking. The voice gets hoarse, and breathing can get rapid and noisy. Croup usually sounds worse than it really is.


Croup is a viral infection of the throat and vocal cords (larynx). In an older child or adult, it is called laryngitis.


Croup is a viral infection, so antibiotics, which are used to treat bacterial infections, do not help. Call your child’s doctor right away if he gets a fever higher than 39oC (102oF), has rapid or difficult breathing, has a severe sore throat, starts to drool or has more drool, or if he refuses to swallow or is uncomfortable when lying down.


As with a cold, the virus is carried in the saliva and nasal secretions and spreads through the air when people cough, sneeze or blow their noses. Your child can go to daycare or school if he feels well enough.

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