Home treatment, such as using a humidifier, can help treat mild to moderate croup. Regardless of treatment, symptoms usually improve gradually within 2 to 5 days.
If your child has severe croup or has not responded to home treatment, medicines may be used to reduce airway swelling. These are usually given in a doctor's office or an emergency room. Medicines usually include:
- Glucocorticoids, such as dexamethasoneor budesonide(for example, Pulmicort).
If your child needs extra oxygen, it is given through a nasal cannulaor delivered through an oxygen mask placed over the nose and mouth.
If breathing improves after one or more of these measures, your child will be observed for a short time and sent home. If symptoms do not improve, your child may need hospitalization and further testing.
What to Think About
Over-the-countercough and cold medicines are not helpful for treating croup. These medicines may not be safe for young children. Before you give them to a child, check the label. If you do give these medicines to a child, always follow the directions about how much to give based on the child's age and weight.