How is croup treated?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

In most cases, croup is mild enough to be treated at home. If your child's doctor recommends home treatment, give your child plenty of rest and fluids. Over-the-counter pain relievers (ibuprofen or acetaminophen) and steam, such as from a vaporizer, can ease the symptoms of croup during the recovery period, which usually lasts less than a week. (Do not give children aspirin, as it may lead to a rare but dangerous condition called Reye's syndrome.) In more severe cases, doctors may prescribe corticosteroids or medicated aerosol treatments, such as epinephrine, to address breathing difficulties. In rare cases, the croup may be so severe that the child needs to be hospitalized so that breathing problems can be monitored and treated. Croup is usually a viral illness, but if the croup is caused by bacteria or leads to a bacterial infection, your child's doctor is likely to prescribe antibiotics.

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