Croup, also called laryngotrachrobrakitis, is a type of respiratory infection that is usually caused by a virus. The infection leads to inflammation inside the trachea, which interferes with normal breathing and "barking" creates classic symptoms of cough, dizziness and crispy voice. Fever and runny nose may also be present, these symptoms may be mild, moderate or serious. It often starts or gets worse at night. It usually lasts for one to two days.
Croup may be due to many viruses including Parainfluenza and influenza virus. Seldom it is due to a bacterial infection. Croup is diagnosed on the basis of signals and symptoms after potentially more serious causes, such as epiglottitis or an airway foreign body. Further diagnosis - such as blood tests, X-rays, and cultures - are usually not needed.
Vaccination for influenza and diphtheria can prevent many cases of croup. Croup is usually treated with a dose of steroids in the mouth. In more severe cases, epinephrine can also be used with breath. In one to five percent cases, hospitalization is required.
Croup is a relatively common condition that affects approximately 15% of children at some point. It usually occurs between the ages of 6 months and 5 years, but hardly can be seen in children at the age of fifteen. It is often more common in men as compared to women. This is most often in the autumn. Before immunization, it was often croup caused by diphtheria and was often fatal. This reason is now little due to the success of diphtheria vaccine in the Western world.