How serious is Croup cough?

Croup can range from a mild illness to a serious and life-threatening condition. It is important to seek medical attention if a child has difficulty breathing, fast or labored breathing, or if the skin between the ribs or above the collarbone sucks in during breaths. Also seek prompt medical help if your child is:

  • less than 3 months old and has a temperature of 38 °C or above
  • aged 3 months or older and has a temperature of 39 °C or above

OR when your child:

  • has a distinctive barking cough
  • harsh sound when they breathe in
  • has an increased breathing rate (they’re too breathless to feed or talk) or ‘silent chest’ (you’re unable to hear sounds of breathing)
  • has a worsening cough or rasping sound
  • shows distress and agitation
  • has dark, blue-tinged or pale skin
  • the skin around their ribs and chest appears to be pulled in and tight, making the bones of their chest and ribs more visible
  • has abnormal drowsiness and sleepiness
  • has an inability to drink fluids

Severe croup can lead to breathing difficulties, hospitalization, and in rare cases, respiratory failure.