Treating croup

Treatment of croup depends on how severe the symptoms are. Most cases are mild and can be managed at home.

However, if your child has severe croup, they will need to be admitted to hospital urgently.

Treatment at home

If your GPthinks your child has mildcroup, they will usually recommendmanaging itat home.

Thiswill ofteninvolve using children's paracetamol to ease any pain associated with the condition and may help lower your child's temperature if they have a fever.

You should also ensure your child is well hydrated by encouraging them to drink plenty of fluids.

Comforting your child is alsoimportant because their symptoms mayget worseif they are agitated or crying. If your child is distressed, sitting them upright on your lap will help to comfort and reassure them.

Your GP will usually prescribe a single dose of an oral corticosteroid medication called dexamethasone or prednisolone to help reduce swelling (inflammation) in your child's throat. Side effects of these medications can include restlessness, vomiting, upset stomach and headache.

Steam treatment is not advised for the treatment of croup. There is no evidence that allowing your child to breathe in humid air, for example steam from a hot bath or shower in a closed room, will help.

You should seek urgent medical advice if you notice your childs symptoms getting worse.

Painkillers for children

Painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen , are available in liquid form for children.You can get liquid paracetamol and ibuprofen over the counter from pharmacies and some supermarkets.

Children under 16 years of age should not be given aspirin.

Speak to your pharmacist or GP if you are unsure about what type of painkiller is suitable for your child.

This will help improve symptoms within 10 to 30 minutes and the effects should last for up to two hours. A nebuliser allows your child to breathe the medication as a mist.

If your child is very distressed and finding itdifficult to breathe, they will be given oxygen through an oxygen mask.

As with milder cases of croup, oral dexamethasone or prednisolonewill usuallybe given to help reduce any swelling in your childs airways.

In rare cases croup may require hospitalisation, where a child may need intubation. During intubation, a tube is inserted either through a nostril or the mouth and passed down into the windpipe. This will help your child breathe more easily.

Intubation is usually performed under general anaesthetic . This means your child will be completely unconscious throughout the procedure so they do not experience pain or distress.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 20 Jun 2016