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Croup in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 4, 2024.

What is croup?

Croup is a respiratory infection. It causes your child's throat and upper airways to swell and narrow. It is also called laryngotracheobronchitis. Croup is most common in children ages 6 months to 3 years. Your child may get croup more than once.

What increases my child's risk for croup?

Croup is commonly caused by a virus. It usually occurs during the common cold season. Croup is spread by breathing in germs from infected people when they cough or sneeze. Croup can also spread if your child touches contaminated items and then touches his or her mouth, nose, or eyes.

What are the signs and symptoms of croup?

Croup begins like a cold with cough, fever, and a runny nose. As your child's airway becomes swollen, he or she may have any of the following:

How is croup treated?

Treatment can usually be done at home. Your child's healthcare provider may recommend any of the following:

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

How can I prevent the spread of croup?

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my child's doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Learn more about Croup

Treatment options

Symptoms and treatments

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.