DefinitionCroup is swelling in the voice box and wind pipe. The swelling can make it difficult to breathe. This can cause a barking cough.
|Upper Respiratory System in a Child|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
CausesCroup is caused by viral infections such as:
- Influenza virus type A
- Respiratory syncytial virus
- Enteric cytopathogenic human orphan virus
- Measles virus
Risk FactorsCroup occurs most often in children between age 6 months and 3 years. This is because young children have a smaller airway. Airways become wider as children grow. This decreases the chance of croup in older children and adults.Factors that may increase the risk of croup include:
- Attending day care
- History of croup
- Family history of croup
- Frequent upper respiratory infections
- Colder months: October through March
SymptomsCroup often begins with symptoms similar to an upper respiratory infection. The symptoms can come on suddenly and often at night. The following is a list of common croup symptoms:
- Cough spasms
- Cough that sounds like a barking seal
- A harsh, high-pitched sound when your child breathes in, especially when crying or upset
- Trouble breathing, especially breathing in
- Poor appetite and fluid intake
- Bluish color of nails, lips, or around the mouth—This is an absolute emergency. Call for emergency medical help right away .
- Decreased alertness—This is also a serious symptom. Call for emergency medical help right away .
- Restlessness or agitation—This can be due to dangerous lack of oxygen.
- Struggling for each breath
- Harsh, high-pitched breath sounds even at rest
- Trouble swallowing
- Inability to speak due to trouble breathing
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid, irregular heartbeat; chest pain
- Rash or hives
- High fever
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