Self-care measures at home are effective for the vast majority of cases of croup. Aggressive treatment is rarely needed.
If your child's symptoms persist beyond three to five days or worsen, your child's doctor may prescribe a type of steroid (glucocorticoid) to reduce inflammation in the airway. Benefits will usually be felt within six hours. Dexamethasone is usually recommended because of its long-lasting effects (up to 72 hours).
Epinephrine is also effective in reducing airway inflammation. It's fast-acting, but its effects wear off quickly.
For severe croup, your child may need to spend time in a hospital. In rare instances, a temporary breathing tube may need to be placed in the child's windpipe.
Croup can be scary — especially if it lands your child in the doctor's office, emergency room or hospital. Comforting your child and keeping him or her calm are important, because crying and agitation worsen airway obstruction. Hold your child, sing lullabies or read quiet stories. Offer a favorite blanket or toy. Speak in a soothing voice.
Jan. 30, 2013
- Flint PW, et al. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05283-2..X0001-8--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05283-2&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed Nov. 29, 2012.
- Woods CR. Approach to the management of croup. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Nov. 29, 2012.
- Zoorob R, et al. Croup: An overview. American Family Physician. 2011;83:1067.
- Russell KF, et al. Glucocorticoids for croup. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD001955.pub3/abstract. Accessed Nov. 29, 2012.
- Wilkinson JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 29, 2012.