10123 views 1 min to read

Croup is a relatively common ailment of childhood, which is very contagious. It affects children between three months and six years old and normally lasts 5-6 days. The characteristic barking cough is due to the noise made by the air passing through the constricted airways and over the inflamed vocal cords.


  • First indication is often a high temperature over 40 degrees Celsius
  • This is followed by a dry cough that sounds like the bark of a seal
  • The child may also have trouble breathing and a strange sound may be produced when they inhale
  • Hoarseness of the throat
  • Feeling of suffocation
  • Fits of coughing
  • Commonly preceded by a cold, bronchitis, or allergy attack, but may also be an indication of a foreign body lodged in the airways
  • Attacks most commonly occur at night


Most cases of croup are caused by viral infection which is transmitted by exposure to droplets spread by coughing and sneezing. The infection causes the larynx and/or trachea (windpipe) to swell and narrow, causing breathing difficulties. Children are more susceptible than adults since their airways are already very narrow.

If the infection results in mucus production, the airway may become even more clogged.

Important notes

Most cases of croup can be treated at home, but if your child is having difficulty breathing, seek medical help immediately. Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed to treat the underlying infection. Consult your health care professional if  Croup symptoms are accompanied by high fever.

Get free personalised advice from our team of qualified naturopaths here