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BCM - Baylor College of Medicine

Giving life to possible

Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery

Croup

Croup is caused by an infection which causes edema (swelling) of the subglottis, which is the area just beneath the vocal folds.

What Are the Symptoms of Croup?

Croup is characterized by a barky, seal-like cough. Children can also develop biphasic stridor, a noisy, high-pitched sound heard when the child breathes in and breathes out.

What Causes Croup?

The most common causative organism is a virus called parainfluenza. More rarely it can be associated with a bacterial process.

How Do You Treat Croup?

Croup is typically treated with drugs meant to decrease the swelling in the subglottis. These drugs include steroids and various breathing treatments.

What Happens if My Child Gets Croup More Than Once?

If your child has recurrent croup it can warrant investigation by an otolaryngologist who may want to examine your child's larynx (voice box) and trachea (windpipe) in the operating room in a procedure called a direct laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy. The otolaryngologist will be looking to see if your child has a small windpipe. They will be be looking for any congenital lesions, such as a hemangioma or cysts, which can cause the airway to be small.