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Croup in kids: Warning signs all parents should know

When you're a parent, you tend to pay extra close attention to your child's health. So when something doesn't seem right, it's important to know what to do. One common illness that affects kids, especially in the winter months, is croup. This illness generally starts as a cold but can get serious very quickly. To help you better understand the warning signs of croup, we’ll cover some common symptoms and signs of when you should seek medical attention for your child.

Recognizing the signs

Croup is caused by the same viruses that cause colds, which is why it often seems like the common cold at first. This illness generally affects kids up to age five, but it can be seen in older children and even adults, too. Some of the common symptoms of croup may include:

  • A harsh cough
  • A raspy or hoarse voice
  • Noisy breathing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Eye redness
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • A rash

How urgent care can help

Doctors at an urgent care clinic may be able to diagnose croup just by listening to the child's cough. Doctors may also ask about the child's medical history and about any recent illnesses they've had. If a cough is particularly bad, doctors may order an X-ray of the neck to ensure the airways aren't closed too much.

The good news is that the majority of croup cases are able to be treated at home. Plenty of rest, a fever-reducing medicine and a humidifier can all help children recover quickly.

But croup can escalate pretty quickly in some cases. If a child is showing signs of labored breathing, is becoming pale or bluish around the mouth, is more lethargic than normal, or is dehydrated, they should receive medical attention right away. Fortunately, an urgent care clinic can get children with croup the treatment they need quickly. And with about 3 million patients visiting urgent care centers every week, there is always someone around to help.

Croup is fairly common in young children and is usually a minor health concern. But in cases of croup that do escalate, children should be seen by a doctor to ensure their airways are open enough to allow them to breathe properly. Parents should always be aware of the warning signs of croup and should feel free to ask a doctor about any concerns they have regarding their child's health.


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