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Croup is a result of inflammation of the larynx (voicebox). Your child will have a hoarse, barking cough and noisy breathing. Contact your GP if you think your child has croup. Sometimes, though not often, croup can be life-threatening. Therefore, it is important to watch out for danger signals like:

  • indrawing between the ribs or below the ribs with breathing;
  • restlessness and lots of saliva;
  • irritability;
  • blueness of the lips or face.

If you notice any of these signs, call your GP or, if a doctor is not available, take your child straight to the nearest hospital with an Accident and Emergency department.

If your child has croup a steamy atmosphere may help to relieve a ‘croupy’ cough and ease breathing. If your child has an attack of croup sit with him or her in the bathroom with the hot tap running or in the kitchen with water boiling. But be careful: very hot water, even if it isn’t boiling, can scald. Keep the door and windows closed.

We are indebted to Health Promotion England for their help in compiling this section.