Common Conditions: Croup

Croup is a condition that affects babies’ and young children’s airways. It is usually mild, but call NHS 111 or see a GP if you are worried, if they get worse, or if symptoms do not go away after 48 hours.

Croup is a condition that affects babies’ and young children’s airways. It is usually mild, but call NHS 111 or see a GP if you are worried, if they get worse, or if symptoms do not go away after 48 hours.

SYMPTOMS

  • A barking cough that sounds like a seal.
  • A hoarse voice.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • A rasping sound when breathing in.
  • A child will usually have cold-like symptoms to begin with, such as a temperature, runny nose and cough.
  • Croup symptoms usually come on after a few days and are often worse at night.

TREATMENT

Croup usually gets better on its own within 48 hours, but until it does:

  • sit the child upright
  • comfort them if they are distressed, as crying can make symptoms worse
  • give them plenty of fluids
  • do not give cough or cold medicines
  • do not put the child in a steamy room or get them to inhale steam.

Take the child to A&E immediately or call 999 if:

  • they are struggling to breathe (you may notice their tummy sucking inwards or their breathing sounding different)
  • their skin or lips start to look blue or grey
  • they are unusually quiet or still
  • they suddenly get a very high temperature or become very ill.

Adapted from the NHS website

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