Croup is an inflammation of the windpipe (trachea) and voice box (larynx) typically caused by a contagious viral infection that causes cough, a loud squeaking noise (stridor), and sometimes difficulty with breathing in (inspiration).
Croup is caused by viruses.
Symptoms include fever, runny nose, and a typical bark-like cough.
The diagnosis is based on symptoms.
Most children recover at home, but those who require hospitalization receive fluids, oxygen, and drugs.
Croup primarily affects children 6 months to 3 years of age.
Most children have only a single episode of croup, but a few have repeated episodes (called spasmodic croup) initiated by viral infections that gradually decrease in frequency and severity. Allergies or airway reactivity (such as occurs in asthma) may play a role in spasmodic croup.