Patient Care

Croup (Children)

What is Croup in Children?

Croup is a viral infection of the vocal cords, voice box and windpipe. It makes the breathing passages in the throat and windpipe swell and get narrower.

If left untreated, Croup usually gets worse in the first 3 days before it stabilises. It usually lasts for 5 to 7 days and is generally worse at night.

What are the signs & symptoms of Croup in Children?

Your child will probably have a hoarse voice and a cough that sounds like barking. The cough often starts at night. Your child may also have a fever or noisy breathing.

Take your child to a doctor if:

  • Your child has difficulty breathing, rapid breathing or noisy breathing.
  • Your child is unable to drink or feed.
  • Your child is drooling.
What are the treatment options for Croup in Children?

Your child will be given acetaminophen (paracetamol) if he/she has a fever over 38.0°C and is uncomfortable from the fever.

Do not give your child medicine, such as cough syrup, unless it is prescribed by your child's doctor.

Caring for children with Croup?

Your child may be upset and frightened because he or she cannot breathe very well. The sound of the cough can be frightening too. Here are some things you can do to help your child feel better:

  • Warm moist air seems to work best to relax the vocal cords. Have warm shower running with the bathroom door closed. Once the room is all fogged up, take your child into the humidified bathroom for at least 10 minutes.
  • Stay calm. This will help your child stay calm too, which will help his or her breathing
  • Sit your child upright on your knee. Or, you can put some pillows behind your child's head and back while he or she is in bed. This may make it easier for your child to breathe.
  • If your child has a fever, give him or her lots to warm fluids to drink.
  • You can give your child paracetamol if he/she has a fever over 38.0oC and is uncomfortable from the fever.
  • Do not give your child other medicines, such as a cough syrup, unless it is prescribed by your child's doctor.
  • Avoid smoke exposure.
Find A Doctor

Click here to access our Find A Doctor directory for a list of doctors treating this condition across our NUHS institutions.

You can search by -
  • Condition name 'Croup (Children)' AND
  • Institution
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National University Health System
  • National University Hospital
  • Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
  • Alexandra Hospital
  • Jurong Community Hospital
  • National University Polyclinics
  • Jurong Medical Centre
  • National University Cancer Institute, Singapore
  • National University Heart Centre, Singapore
  • National University Centre for Oral Health, Singapore
  • NUHS Diagnostics
  • NUHS Pharmacy
  • Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
  • Faculty of Dentistry
  • Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health
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