Monroe Pediatric Associates
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Pediatricians of New York Monroe Pediatric Associates

Monroe Pediatrics is a division of Allied Pediatrics of New York

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What is Croup?


Croup is caused by an acute viral infection of the upper respiratory tract.  It results in inflammation, increased mucus production, and swelling of the upper airways.  Croup typically affects children between the ages of 6 months to 3years, but can be seen in older children, as well.  Croup is typically a self-limiting illness.

The symptoms of croup usually develop over 2 to 3 days, and may include runny nose, cough and a low grade temperature.  Two distinct characteristics of croup include the typical barking, or seal-like cough which is usually worse at night, and stridor, which is the presence of wheezing on inspiration.  Both the barking cough and stridor can be exacerbated by crying.

The following things can be done at home to help alleviate your child’s symptoms.  Fever control can be achieved through the use of ibuprofen or acetaminophen(Tylenol).  Cool mist humidifiers or shower steam can help lessen the severity of stridor and calm coughs.  Encouraging your child to drink plenty of fluids will help maintain hydration and loosen mucous.  Over the counter cough suppressants are not recommended.

Medical therapy prescribed by your pediatrician is aimed at decreasing the inflammation of the upper airways, and may include nebulized racemic epinephrine and/or oral prednisilone.  Since croup is caused by viral infections, antibiotics are not beneficial.