Healthcare: Ear, Nose and Throat (Otolaryngology)

Croup

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

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What Are the Symptoms of Croup?

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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.

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What Causes Croup?

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

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How Do You Treat Croup?

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

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What Happens if My Child Gets Croup More Than Once?

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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 looking for any congenital lesions, such as a hemangioma or cysts, which can cause the airway to be small.