Does my child have croup or a cold?


You wake up in the middle of the night, to the sound of your child “barking” from across the room. Is it serious, or is it just a cold? Before fall is in full swing, find the facts on croup from OCH’s Nishua Bendt, DO.

  • What is croup? Croup is typically a viral illness that affects children, especially those under 3 years of age. Croup is an inflammation of the upper airway (from the mouth to throat and the wind pipe), along with the voice box (larynx). It tends to be seasonal, affecting children more often in the fall and spring months.
  • Symptoms of croup? This inflammation causes irritation, runny nose, congestion and the famous “barky cough.” Children may have a wide range of symptoms from mild with no fever, a little runny nose/cough to severe that can cause problems with breathing and swallowing. Children may also be clingy as well as hoarse.
  • How is croup spread? Croup is spread by droplets such as coughing, sneezing and via dirty hands. Croup is not 100% avoidable; however, if you kids wash their hands often, cough into sleeve/elbow/or tissues and avoid others who are sick, they can significantly reduce possible exposure.
  • How long does croup last? Croup can last several days (5-10) and may reoccur through the winter season. Consult a healthcare provider any time you have questions, or if you child develops a high fever, decreases drinking or has fewer wet diapers than normal, if symptoms change to one specific area of concern, or if your child is experiencing problems with breathing that a home treatment isn’t helping.
  • Treatment for croup? Viruses aren’t fixed with antibiotics. Treating the congestion, fever and sore throat keeps kids calm and relaxed so they stress their vocal cords less. Symptoms tend to be more severe at night and children may seem much sicker than they really are. Going from a steamy shower to cool night air may improve symptoms and using a cool mist vaporizer may help also.


Nishua Bendt, DO is a board certified physician at the OCH Webster County Clinic in Rogersville, Mo. With more than 10 years’ experience in family medicine, Dr. Bendt can see patients of all ages from infants to adults. In addition to preventative care and well woman checks, Dr. Bendt can offer some procedures in office including examining skin conditions, freezing warts, suturing, and removing abscesses and ingrown toenails. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Bendt, contact the OCH Webster County Clinic at 417-753-9404.


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