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Kelli Shidler, M.D.​
Boys Town Pediatrics

​Croup is another virus that we see or it's caused by a virus. It causes inflammation of the upper airways. So the vocal cord area gets really swollen and it causes a crazy sound.

Usually, when they breathe in it's really noisy. That's called strider. They can also get a horrible cough. It's the "seal bark" cough is the classic description of the cough.

Croup tends to be the worst in the middle of the night or waking up from naps. Those are the two times when you tend to see croup having the worst symptoms. Usually during the day they're fine but night time rolls around and they're really sick again. So we usually treat based on those symptoms to help them get through the night.

How is croup treated?

We will prescribe a steroid for some babies with croup or do a different kind of breathing treatment, with epinephrine, in clinic to help treat the croup symptoms.

If you're home and your baby is a little older and they're not in too much distress you can use cold air. So you can either have the freezer door open, if it's a summer night, you can open the freezer and stand by the freezer. That cold air can help or if it's in the middle of winter, you can stand outside with a baby. Bundle them up and that really cold air can constrict those vocal cords down.

The other thing we use is a hot, steamy shower. Turn the shower on as hot as it goes, close the door in the bathroom and stand in there. That hot air can really help as well.

Croup is a very common thing. It's usually nothing to worry about, but with that severe, those sounds that you hear and that respiratory distress, we would say call right away. Try those quick maneuvers at home of the cold air or the hot, steamy shower. If they're not giving you any relief, come in. ​

​Croup is a common respiratory condition causing a harsh, barking cough. Dr. Kelli Shidler, pediatrician with Boys Town Pediatrics, explains the characteristics of croup and offers tips to help relieve the symptoms of croup.