When should I call the doctor about my child’s croup?


Most children with croup can be cared for at home.

Call 911 or your local ambulance service right away if your child:

  • Is so tired and weak that he hardly responds to you
  • Is working very hard to breathe or finds it hard to take a breath
  • Has a blue or dark purple color to the nail beds, lips or gums
  • Grunts when he breathes
  • Chest retractions (skin pulling in around the ribs when breathing)
  • Stops breathing for more than 10 seconds
  • Cannot speak while trying to breathe
  • Has any breathing problem that needs care right away

Call your child’s doctor if your child:

  • Does not smile or show interest in play for at least a few minutes during any four-hour period
  • Is working hard to breathe
  • Is choking when being fed clear liquids, drooling or having trouble swallowing

Also call if your child has:

  • A new fever since being seen by the doctor (temperature over 100.3°F)
  • New symptoms such as chest pain, wheezing or stomach pain
  • Problems taking the medicine ordered by his doctor
  • A cough that often wakes him up at night
  • A hoarse sound with every breath, even when he is resting quietly

Continue Learning about Viral Throat Infections

Viral Throat Infections

Viral Throat Infections

Aside from strep throat, most sore throats caused by are contagious, viral throat infections that cannot be treated with antibiotics. The most common culprits of a viral throat infection include coxsackievirus, mononucleosis, and ...

the flu. Mononucleosis (mono) is a virus that causes symptoms that can last for weeks or months at a time. Viral throat infections are best treated with rest, liquids and other home remedies. If the sore throat causes you to have trouble breathing or a high fever, or results in spots in the back of your throat, call your doctor.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.