Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
Croup - Brief Version
What is a croupy cough ?
A croupy cough is when your child has a tight, "barking"
cough and usually a hoarse voice.
What is stridor?
Stridor is when your child breathes in, you hear a harsh,
raspy sound. This happens with severe croup.
What causes croup?
Croup is a viral infection of the vocal cords. Stridor
occurs as the opening between the cords becomes more narrow.
First Aid for Attacks of Stridor With Croup
- Inhalation of warm mist. Warm, moist air seems to work
best to relax the vocal cords and break the stridor.
Take your child into a foggy bathroom. Have a warm
shower running with the bathroom door closed. If your
child continues to have stridor 20 minutes after mist
treatment, call 911.
Home Care for a Croupy Cough Without Stridor
- Humidifier. Dry air usually makes coughs worse. Keep
your child's bedroom humid. (Use a humidifier if the air
- Warm fluids for coughing spasms. Warm drinks (such as
warm apple juice or warm lemonade) may relax the vocal
cords and loosen up sticky mucus. You can give warm
fluids to children over 4 months old.
- Cough medicines. Medicines are less helpful than mist or
warm fluids. Give 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of corn syrup to
Call your child's doctor right away if:
- Breathing becomes difficult (when your child is not
- Your child starts drooling or having a lot of trouble
- The warm mist fails to clear up the stridor in
- Your child starts acting very sick.
Call your child's doctor during office hours if:
- A fever lasts more than 3 days.
- Croup lasts more than 10 days.
- You have other questions or concerns.