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Complications of croup

Most cases of croup are mild, and do not require hospitalisation.

You should seek immediate medical attention for your child if the croup symptoms persist for more than a week, if your child has underlying medical problems (e.g. heart or lung disease, muscle weakness, etc.) or if your child displays the following symptoms:

  • Fast or difficult breathing
  • Stridor
  • Decreased activity and lethargy
  • Poor feeding with signs of dehydration
  • Drooling or difficulty swallowing
  • Blue or grey skin around the nose, mouth or fingernails

Treatment for croup

  • As with all viral infections, ensure lots of fluids and rest for your child.
  • Croup medications: Your doctor may prescribe a steroid to your child to reduce the swelling of the windpipe and vocal cords. In some severe cases, an inhalation treatment with adrenaline and oxygen may also be given.

Tips for parents with a child suffering from croup

  • Hold your child upright to make breathing easier.
  • Encourage your child to drink lots of fluids and have plenty of rest for a faster recovery.
  • Warm, moist air: You can run a hot shower to create a steam-filled bathroom where you can sit with your child for 5-10 minutes. This can sometimes help your child breathe easier and stop coughing bouts.
  • Smoke exposure: Avoid having anyone smoke near your child, as this may make your child's symptoms worse.
  • Close observation: You may consider sleeping in the same room as your child when he is ill, so that you can monitor him more closely.

Ref: R14