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Croup is a viral respiratory infection that mostly affects young children. It is characterized by a characteristic cough that resembles a barking or barking bark. Other symptoms may include difficulty breathing, wheezing, and sometimes fever.

Causes of croup:

The cause of croup is usually a viral infection, especially the parainfluenza virus. Croup can be mild to moderate and can often be managed at home with moist air (for example, taking the child outside in cool air or sitting with them in a steamy bathroom) and sometimes corticosteroid drugs that reduce swelling in the airways. In more serious cases, hospitalization and medical treatment may be necessary. In adults, the viruses that usually cause croup cause common cold symptoms. But in children aged six months up to three years, a common cold can develop into croup. This is because the tracheal space is narrower in children, and when the mucous membranes swell, it can lead to breathing difficulties. Croup attacks often occur at night when the child is lying down. It is worth noting that children who have had croup once have an increased risk of developing it again in connection with new colds, but over time they usually grow out of this condition.

In the past, the term "false croup" was used " or "pseudocroup" to describe croup, especially to distinguish it from the rarer and more serious disease diphtheria, which is caused by the diphtheria bacterium. Diphtheria is now very uncommon in Sweden due to good hygiene and general vaccination programs.

Symptoms of croup:

The infection often begins as a cold, and the child can be perceived as relatively healthy when it falls asleep. During the night, the child may wake up with symptoms such as:

  • Characteristic barking cough

  • Strained breathing, especially when inhaling

    Symptoms are often worst in the first day. The problems have mostly gone completely in less than a week.

    What can I do myself?

    • Moist air : Take the child out into the cold air or sit with them in a steamy bathroom. The moist air can help relieve swelling in the airways and reduce coughing and breathing problems.

    • Keep the baby calm: Worrying and crying can worsen the symptoms of croup . Try to keep the child calm and comfort him. Place them in an upright position to facilitate breathing.

    • Fluid intake: Make sure the child drinks enough fluids to prevent dehydration and to help with expectorants.

    • Avoid irritants: Smoking and exposure to irritants such as strong smells and chemicals can worsen symptoms. Make sure the child is not exposed to such substances.

    • Follow the doctor's advice: If the child has been prescribed corticosteroids or other medications by the doctor, follow the dosage instructions carefully and complete the full course of treatment.

    It is important to monitor the child closely and be ready to seek medical help if symptoms worsen or if the child has severe breathing difficulties. Croup can vary in severity, and in some cases hospitalization may be required to manage the condition.