How To Tell If Your Baby Has Croup, Aside From The Horrible Cough

by Lindsay E. Mack

No one wants a baby to be sick, but unfortunately little ones seem to be magnets for infections. Babies who have an active social schedule, and especially those in day care, sometimes have a new sickness every other week. This can leave parents in the unenviable position of diagnosing different illnesses on the fly. With this in mind, it's smart to know how to tell if your baby has croup, because this is one of the most common childhood illnesses of all.

According to the Mayo Clinic, most cases of croup start off like a typical cold. However, cases of croup tend to develop a loud cough and additional symptoms that can alarm caregivers. A runny nose is one thing, but a barking cough that lasts all night is pretty unsettling.

For what it's worth, the viral infection known as croup is very common and (unfortunately) contagious, according to WebMD. For the most part, your kid will get better within a week, and most of the symptoms can be managed at home, as further explained by WebMD. In rare cases, however, your kid may indicate more serious symptoms that require immediate care. In order to review the common symptoms of croup, as well as the signs that your little one needs immediate care, read on.


They Have A Barking Cough

This is the hallmark symptom of croup. According to Baby Center, a barking cough almost always indicates croup. If you kid seems to do an impression of a dog or seal every time she coughs, then croup may be to blame. If you aren't sure about this description, there's an informative sound clip of a croup cough on Baby Center.


They Show Cold Symptoms

Croup often starts out like an ordinary cold, according to Parents. The Site noted that symptoms such as a stuffy, runny nose are sometimes the first sign of this infection. Although babies have sinus troubles all the time, it's a good idea for you to know the other symptoms of croup just in case things accelerate.


They Have Labored Breathing

You just have to feel bad for babies with croup. Another common sign of croup is labored breathing, as explained by WebMD. Is it difficult for your child to breathe normally?


They Make Harsh Sound When Breathing

It sounds like a forgotten Tolkien character, but stridor refers to the harsh sound your child may make when breathing in, as noted by the Seattle Children's Hospital. Stridor is sometimes described as sounding tight or raspy, and it's bound to make you feel bad for your baby.


They Have A Raspy Voice

As might be expected, all the coughing and assorted irritation from croup can do a number on your child's voice. According to WebMD, it's common for croup to leave a baby's voice hoarse and scratchy. This is yet another reason to dislike the infection.


Their Skin Is Grey

For such a cool name, this is a frightening condition. As noted by the Mayo Clinic, cyanosis refers to a blue or grey cast to the skin around your kid's mouth, nose, or even nail beds, and it requires immediate medical attention. It's a rare but potentially harmful sign of complications from croup. As explained by the National Health Service, cyanosis is often caused by a depletion from oxygen. Seek help at once if this is the case.


They Show Retractions When Breathing

Again, it seems like 90 percent of the misery caused by croup is all in the breath. According to Kids Health, another potential symptom of croup are retractions that occur whenever your child draws a breath. When the skin between ribs pulls in as a person inhales, this is what's known as a retraction. It's another sign that breathing is difficult.


They Are Irritable

Sometimes symptoms show up in your kid's demeanor. As noted by What To Expect, irritability is a common reaction to croup. This may be the most understandable symptom of all. Sure, if you can't properly breathe and keep getting rattled by a barking cough, you'd probably feel irritable, too.


They Have A Fever

In the case of viral croup, the cold symptoms can be pronounced. A fever, for instance, is often the case here, as noted by Kids Health. In general, the fever and croup alike will pass within a week or so. If it continues for longer than this, or your child's symptoms seem severe, then don't hesitate to visit your doctor.