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Definition of «Croup»


Croup: A respiratory problem that occurs mainly in children, particularly from 2 to 4 years of age, due to an infection of the respiratory tree -- the larynx (voice box), the trachea (windpipe), and the bronchial tubes.

The symptoms of croup include a cough that sounds like a barking seal and a harsh crowing sound when the child is inhaling. A low-grade fever (around 100° to 101°) is common. The child may become very frightened. The major concern in croup is breathing difficulty as the air passages narrow.

Croup is most often caused by a virus, less often by a bacteria.

Treatment includes moist air, saline (salt water) nose drops, decongestants, cough suppressants, pain medication, fluids, and occasionally antibiotics. Close monitoring of the breathing of a child with croup is valuable, especially at night when croup usually gets worse.

Croup may last up to a week. Each night tends to be better than the last. While most children recover from croup without hospitalization, some children can develop trouble breathing that is life-threatening. Therefore, staying in close contact with the doctor during this illness is important.

The word "croup" is one of the few in general use worldwide in medicine that came from Denmark. It is from the Danish "hropja" which sounds like a croupy child trying to get air in and out of the lungs.

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