Croup is a viral infection that causes swelling in the windpipe (Trachea) in the area of the vocal cords that results in noisy breathing and a barking cough. The typical cough is described as sounding like the bark of a seal. The illness can start with a wet “snotty nose” for a few days and then the noisy breathing starts or it can start very suddenly usually between 22h00 and 02h00.Your baby may go to bed seemingly completely well and the wake with a deep barking cough. The noisy breathing which is heard on both breathing in and breathing out is called stridor and this is the worrying sign in croup.
What to do: Keep your baby calm and quiet. Treat the fever and ensure your baby is drinking. Try steaming the air or go outside into the cold night air because very often one of these suggestions settles the croup quickly.
When to call the doctor: If your baby has a barking cough, is agitated and rasping when he breathes both in and out, he should be taken to the nearest emergency room. Your doctor may