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Croup symptoms

Children may have symptoms of a cold before the onset of croup, including a runny nose, sore throat, fever and irritability. They then develop a harsh, barking cough, sometimes a hoarse voice, and then noisy breathing (stridor).

The noisy breathing and cough are usually worse at night. They can also get worse if your child gets upset. In most children, the symptoms improve over a few days then disappear.

Croup is often only a mild illness, but it can become serious quickly.

Get medical help immediately if you notice any of the following:

  • your child has difficulty breathing
  • your child has noisy breathing when at rest
  • the effort of breathing is tiring your child
  • your child has a high temperature and starts dribbling
  • your child cannot swallow
  • your child becomes pale or blue (which usually happens after a coughing spell)
  • your child becomes floppy
  • you notice your child’s breastbone being sucked right back
  • your child becomes restless, distressed, irritable and/or delirious
  • you are worried or concerned for any reason.

You should call an ambulance (call 000) immediately if:

  • your child looks very sick and becomes pale and drowsy.
  • your child's lips are blue in colour.

Stridor

Children with croup may have noisy, squeaky breathing that is worse when breathing in. This is called stridor. It generally indicates some obstruction or narrowing of the windpipe. Stridor is also occasionally caused by a condition called epiglottitis. It might also be caused by an inhaled foreign body.

Last reviewed: July 2017

Need more information?

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Found 5 results

Croup & stridor: babies & children | Raising Children Network

If your child has a barking cough, hoarse voice and stridor (noisy breathing), she might have croup. Most children with croup dont need special treatment.

Read more on Raising Children Network website

Croup

Croup is a viral infection of the throat and windpipe that causes noisy breathing, a hoarse voice and a harsh, barking cough.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Croup: symptoms and treatments - myDr.com.au

Croup is an infectious condition that causes inflammation and swelling of the voice box (larynx), windpipe and the airways, resulting in breathing difficulties and a barking cough.

Read more on myDr website

Parenting and Child Health - Health Topics - Croup

Croup is caused usually by a virus infection. Ayoung child (usually under 5 years) becomes mildly unwell with what seems to be a normal 'cold'. The virus infection then causes the lining of the airway (windpipe) in the child's neck to swell, causing the airway to get narrower andmaking it harder to breathe.

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Croup | The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

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