Croup refers to an infection of the upper airway, which obstructs breathing and causes a characteristic barking cough.

The cough and other symptoms of croup are the result of swelling around the vocal cords (larynx), windpipe (trachea) and bronchial tubes (bronchi). When a cough forces air through this narrowed passage, the swollen vocal cords produce a noise similar to a seal barking. Likewise, taking a breath often produces a high-pitched whistling sound (stridor).

Croup typically occurs in younger children. Croup usually isn't serious and most cases can be treated at home.

Dec. 19, 2015
  1. AskMayoExpert. Croup. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
  2. Woods CR. Croup: Approach to management. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 9, 2015.
  3. Zoorob R, et al. Croup: An overview. American Family Physician. 2011;83:1067.
  4. Russell KF, et al. Glucocorticoids for croup. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://www.cochrane.org/CD001955/ARI_glucocorticoids-for-croup. Accessed Oct. 9, 2015.
  5. Petrocheilou A, et al. Viral croup: Diagnosis and a treatment algorithm. Pediatric Pulmonology. 2014;49:421.
  6. Kawaguchi A, et al. Evidence for clinicians: Nebulized epinephrine for croup in children. Paediatrics and Child Health. 2015;20:19.
  7. Thompson M, et al. Duration of symptoms of respiratory tract infections in children: Systematic review. BMJ. 2013;347:f7027.
  8. OTC cough and cold products: Not for infants and children under 2 years of age. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm048682.htm. Accessed Oct. 9, 2015.
  9. Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Croup. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research;2012.
  10. Woods CR. Croup: Clinical features, evaluation, and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 14, 2015.
  11. Human parainfluenza viruses (HPIVs). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/parainfluenza/hcp/clinical.html. Accessed Oct. 22, 2015.
  12. Woods CR. Croup: Pharmacologic and supportive interventions. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 22, 2015.