First Aid for Croup

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Croup is a severe form of inflammation affecting the upper airway. It is often contracted by young children and babies between 3 months and 3 years of age—children over 5 years rarely contract the infection. This condition involves the narrowing of the voice box due to swelling caused by the upper respiratory tract infection. Sometimes in severe cases, the airway may shut down completely, thus inhibiting normal breathing.

Another major form of this infection may affect the epiglottis. This condition is called epiglottitis as a result of a bacterial infection. The infection may also obstruct the airways and close it completely. A severe form of upper crouprespiratory tract infection requires emergency medical help; the child will be promptly hospitalized and will be given close supervision until he recovers.

The condition often worsens during nighttime, when the child is exposed to a sudden weather change or when he is exposed to a lower temperature climate outside. Some children, who may seem to have fully recovered, often show symptoms again during the evening or night time.


Children suffering from croup may not suffer from all of the following symptoms:

  • Harsh/barking coughs—especially after bouts of breathlessness
  • Squealing or high-pitched sound is produced—especially while breathing
  • Apparent effort while inhaling
  • Your child may use the muscles in the neck to support breathing
  • The lips, fingertips and earlobes appear blue
  • Fever
  • Anxiety/distress


If you suspect your child is suffering from croup, follow these steps promptly:

1. Make him feel comfortable and relieve difficulties in breathing

  • Reassure the child and help him keep calm
  • Apply ice packs if the child is suffering from fever
  • To reduce drafts, close all doors and windows
  • Create a humid atmosphere by running the tap with hot water to produce steam. Nurse your child in a humid environment. Do not get too close to the hot water shower or tap to prevent your child from getting burnt.

2. Continue care

  • Make sure your child stays in a warm environment. Keep the windows and doors closed. In a humid atmosphere, your child may be feeling more comfortable and the breathing problems may have greatly reduced. However, you must call for medical help promptly even though he seems to recover for further medical attention.
  • Your child may feel dehydrated while improving his breathing in a warm atmosphere. Therefore, make sure you feed him plenty of water and clear fluids such as cordials so that he remains hydrated till help arrives.
  • If your child does not show any signs of improvement in the humid atmosphere, call for emergency medical help immediately.

Seriousness of Croup

Croup is a form of breathing emergency that can cause difficulties breathing, however is not likely to cause any severe breathing complications. However, croup can become life threatening as it affects the airway of the child causing breathing difficulties. workplace approved first aid and CPR courses train individual to provide assisted breathing when a person has difficulty or an inability to breathe normally. Enrol in a course today to learn the skills to save a life.

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