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What are the complications of croup?

The biggest concern with croup is whether severe breathing difficulty will develop. Some infants and children with severe croup may need to be admitted to an intensive care unit for observation and breathing treatments. Extremely severe croup can result in life-threatening swelling of the airway. The child's upper airway may swell so much that the child may not be able to breathe well enough. This is called respiratory failure. As the diameter of the airway becomes more narrowed, the resistance to the flow of air increases. The child must exert more and more energy to supply enough air to his or her lungs. If the work of breathing is not somehow relieved, the child may become exhausted, go into a coma, and die. However, the majority of cases of croup do not reach this level.

More information on croup

What is croup? - Croup is breathing difficulty accompanied by a barking cough. Croup is usually caused by the parainfluenza virus.
What causes croup? - Viral croup is the most common. Other possible causes include bacteria, allergies, and inhaled irritants.
What're the symptoms of croup? - Croup features a cough that sounds like a seal barking. Croup has a characteristic cough that sounds like a barking seal.
What're the complications of croup? - Extremely severe croup can result in life-threatening swelling of the airway. Respiratory failure may happen on child.
How is croup diagnosed? - Children with croup are usually diagnosed based on the parent's description of the symptoms and a physical exam.
What's the treatment for croup? - Most cases of croup can be safely managed at home. Steroid medicines are effective at promptly relieving the symptoms of croup.
How to prevent croup? - Frequent hand washing and avoiding contact with others with respiratory infections are good ways to prevent colds and croup.
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005