Is your child experiencing a scary-sounding cough that sounds like a dog’s bark? If so, he or she probably has croup, but you don’t need to worry. Croup is typically harmless, and you can usually effectively treat it in the comfort of your own home.

Our AFC Urgent Care Ooltewah team further highlights croup below, so read on!

What Is Croup?

Croup is a viral upper respiratory infection that almost exclusively affects young children. It usually lasts between three and five days, and it’s most common during the fall and winter months.

Croup causes swelling and inflammation of the voice box (larynx) and windpipe (trachea), which can result in noisy, difficult breathing and a loud, “barking” cough that sounds like a seal pup or a dog. Although these symptoms sound scary, they typically aren’t serious.

Common Symptoms of Croup

  • A barking cough
  • High-pitched or noisy breathing (stridor)
  • Hoarseness or loss of voice
  • Low-grade fever
  • Runny or stuffy nose

How Serious Is Croup?

It’s usually not serious. Like we said earlier, most croup cases last between three and five days and they’re usually mild. Using humidifiers and calming your child to avoid agitating or aggravating the cough are two good treatment plans.

However, serious cases of croup do happen from time to time. If your child has croup and experiences significantly difficult breathing, a visit to the emergency room is warranted. Doctors may choose to use steroid medications to open your child’s airways, which will allow for easier breathing. We’ve listed some additional reasons to seek medical treatment below.

When to Seek Medical Treatment

  • Makes noisy, high-pitched breathing sounds both when inhaling and exhaling
  • Makes high-pitched breathing sounds when not crying or agitated
  • Begins drooling or has difficulty swallowing
  • Breathes at a faster rate than usual
  • Struggles to breathe
  • Develops blue or grayish skin around the nose, mouth or fingernails (cyanosis)

Whether or child is dealing with croup or some other non-emergency condition, we’re here for your whole family! Don’t hesitate to visit our AFC Urgent Care Ooltewah location today.