False croup

False croup is a common disease caused by a virus infection. Therefore, it cannot the treated with penicillin or other antibiotics. Symptoms are wheezing, "barking" cogh, hoarseness, soreness when swollowing and tightness of the chest.

False croup is caused by a virus infection in the mucous membrane of the throat around the larynx.

It’s a common disease, as 15% of all children contract it before they reach the age of 7. Children aged 2-3 are particularly affected. About 10% of patients have to be admitted to hospital for treatment.

False croup can occur at any time of year, but is most pronounced in the autumn and winter. The infection is caused by a virus, and therefore cannot be treated with penicillin or other antibiotics.

It can start in some children as a common cold, which turns into the typical “barking” cough and fever. In others, there is no sign of a cold, but the barking cough and breathing problems (with no fever) can suddenly occur. The larynx of children is loosely structured, and is therefore more prone to swelling, especially when the child is lying down. False croup usually disappears by itself within 24 hours.

Symptoms of false croup

  • Wheezing, breathing problems, especially when inhaling.
  • (Stridor)
  • “Barking” cough (croup cough)
  • The cough usually occurs in the evening/night after a couple of hours of sleep
  • Hoarseness
  • Soreness when swallowing
  • Tightness of the chest due to breathing problems.

What you can do at home in the event of false croup

  • Soothe your child. Try to stop the child crying and exerting itself, as these exacerbate the breathing problems.
  • Provide plenty of fresh, cool air in the room. Wrap your child in a duvet or similar, and make sure there’s lots of fresh air
  • A sitting position is best to help with breathing problems
  • Painkillers such as Panodil as a mixture or suppository are a good idea.
  • Give your child something very cold to drink. Ice cream is also a good idea, as the cold reduces swelling in the throat
  • Avoid passive smoking. If the cough and breathing problems persist, or your child becomes listless or pale with a changed facial colour, contact your doctor immediately or call 1813.
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