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8/1/11

What Barks Like a Seal and Has Trouble Breathing? It Could be Your Child with Croup: The Symptoms and Treatment of Croup

What Barks Like a Seal and Has Trouble Breathing? It Could be Your Child with Croup: The Symptoms and Treatment of Croup

What is Croup? It can have any and all of:
  1. Barking Cough (may Sound Like a Seal}
  2. Cold like Symptoms
  3. Noisy Breathing
  4. Difficulty Breathing
Croup is a common, mostly childhood syndrome. It can have a sudden onset and a barking cough,"a cough that sounds like a seal barking".



Most children have what appears to be a mild cold for several days before the barking cough becomes evident. As the cough gets more frequent, the child may have labored breathing or STRIDOR (a harsh, crowing noise made during inspiration)". This often frightens parents and sends them running to the emergency room. At MINIMUM YOU NEED TO CALL THE DOCTOR EVEN AT NIGHT.

Croup can sometimes be severe. Most times croup is treated and the child goes home. In a small fraction of cases the child has to be hospitalized. Doctors use corticosteroids to treat the croup. The idea is that steroids reduce inflammation and swelling. Croup has a so called BARKING COUGH along with symptoms that seem like a cold. The BARKING COUGH and TROUBLE BREATHING is what really scares the heck out of people (justifiably). Croup can cause various degrees of trouble breathing.

Croup, can cause swelling around the vocal cords, is common in infants and children and can have a variety of causes. Doctors need to do a differential diagnosis which means to find out if it is croup or a problem that looks similar like epiglottitis or maybe swallowing a foreign object like a coin or toy part. Epiglottitis is very dangerous and needs immediate diagnosis and treatment since it can close off the wind pipe. Immunization against certain bacteria has helped to decrease (but not eliminate) the number of cases of epigolottitis.

Most croup is caused by viruses. As you know viruses are another kind of germ. Bacteria have a different structure than viruses. Antibiotics work against bacteria. Other kinds of treatment are needed for viruses.

What is Epiglottits?

Epiglottitis is an inflammation and swelling of the epiglottis - the flap that sits at the base of the tongue, which keeps food from going into the trachea (windpipe). Due to its place in the airway, swelling of this structure can interfere with breathing and constitutes a medical emergency. Infection can cause the epiglottis to either obstruct or completely close off the windpipe.

  • What is Croup