Croup is a common respiratory illness often seen in children 6
months to 36 months of age. Croup causes distinctive symptoms, including
hoarseness and a barking cough, a high-pitched sound (stridor) heard when
breathing in, and trouble breathing as a result of swelling or obstruction in
the windpipe (trachea).
Croup is usually caused by a virus that
affects the throat and upper airways but not the lungs. It often recurs until a
child is 5 to 6 years old.
You can usually manage croup symptoms at home by soothing your child and having your child breathe in moist air. Severe symptoms
may require a visit to the doctor or emergency room where the child can be
given medicines to reduce airway swelling. Oxygen may be needed until breathing
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.