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Croup is a viral infection that causes swelling in the throat and vocal cords (larynx). Croup commonly affects children under five because their airways are smaller and more prone to swelling. One of the tell-tale signs of croup is a loud, “barky” cough that is worse at night.
Children can get croup from many different viruses. The most common are parainfluenza, influenza(flu), adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and measles.
At first, your child may have typical cold symptoms like a runny or stuffy nose and fever.
Doctors can usually diagnose croup by paying attention to your child’s cough and breathing. They will also check for fever, cold symptoms or a recent viral infection.
Most cases of croup are mild and don’t need medical treatment. If your child has a mild case of croup, there are many things you can do at home to help him feel better.
Croup usually lasts five to six days and is worse at night. The symptoms usually peak on the second or third night.