Home » Croup or false croup in children - symptoms and treatment

Croup or false croup in children - symptoms and treatment

Croup causes a barking cough and stridorous breathing in children

Facts and advice about croup and barking cough. By your paediatrician online. When a child gets croup, you will hear a harsh cough, normally during the night. Sometimes your child will struggle breathing.

Barking cough can be croup cough

In this video you can hear a child with typical croup cough. You may also notice how she struggles breathing (look at her chest and rib cage wihere each breath causes retractions of her skin between the ribs).

A child with a light croup episode will only show some harsh cough while a child with more severe croup will struggle breathing. Every inhalation will sound harsh and loudly.

What is the cause of croup?

In some children, the voice box (larynx) gets swollen when the child contracts a cold. This swelling causes the cough and also the harsh breathing sounds known as stridor.

When do you need to seek medical care for croup?

If your child just have a light croup cough, but is breathing calmly and is not too distressed about their cough, it is wise to stay at home taking care of the symptoms. On the other hand, if your child struggles breathing, you should seek medical attention. As it is most common to get croup during night time, it will probably be at an emergency department.

More severe croup episodes where your child struggles breathing and each inhalation sounds harsh, definitely need emergency medical care. If your child has a medical condition involving malformation of their upper airways, croup might be life threatening if not treated immediately.

What should I do when my child gets croup?

Calm your child!

When your child gets a croup cough attack, you should:

1. Calm your child!

2. Calm your child!

3. Calm your child!

It's so important! When a child with croup gets upset, the barking cough starts, and it might even aggravate the swelling of the airways. So take up your child in your arms, caress and sing their favorite lullaby. If yur baby stops coughing and falling asleep, sit gently with them half upright against your chest in bed and let them sleep there. If your child sleeps quietly for an hour, you can put them in bed.

Does cold air help for croup?

Cold air is often recommended as a remedy for croup. There is no scientific evidence supporting its use.

But why not try it? If calming your child does not help against the cough, try sitting with your child in your lap, well dressed close to an open window if it is wintertime and cold outside.

When should I go to the hospital?

If your child has croup cough disturbing them for a longer period of the night, seek medical care. There are effective medications.

If your child has croup cough and has difficulties breathing: go to the ER!

If your child has croup cough and is finding it so hard to breathe that the child panics, or must devote so much energy to breathing that they are just lying down and struggling breathing: call an ambulance!

Treatment for croup

There are two effective medications against croup.

1. Inhaled adrenaline (epinephrine). Helps well within 30 minutes but the effect does not last longer than two hours.

2. Cortisone tablets (dissolve in water before giving them to the child). Takes effect within 6 hours for 12, but not 24 hours after the dose.

Prescribed medications against croup?

Unfortunately, at least in Sweden, there are no available formulations of inhaled adrenaline for easy home use. If your child has a nebuliser at home for severe asthma it might be possible to prescribe adrenalin for home use for use in such a machine.

Cortisone tablets can be prescribed, but they are not recommended to prescribe for children who have had occasional, or lighter croup attacks. These are potent drugs that should not be taken unnecessarily or overdosed. However, if your child suffers repeated attacks, consult a doctor if it is possible to have cortisone tablets at home to be able to curb an attack.

Cough medicines, such as Mollipect, Cocillana and Lepheton, do not help against croup.

Croup or wheezing?

Croup is caused by a swelling in the upper airways, the voice box, giving a barking cough and inspiratory harsh sounds. Wheezing, or viral asthma, is caused by an inflammation of small airways periferically in the lungs. The wheezing sounds comes at the expiration phase of breathing, and the cough is wheezy, whistling.

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46 thoughts on “Krupp eller falsk krupp hos barn – symtom och behandling”

  1. How long is it normal to have a body? Mine that is now 14 years old and still gets at every cold body. A year ago he was in camp with his class when the cough cough struck, because it was a few years since the last "attack" he had to go to the emergency room. There he learned that it is a body. I was surprised by this, I thought it was only small children who have a body?
    I have asthma and am considered "severe asthma", I am in the group that gets vaccination against the flu every year. So I thought my son might have asthma like me, but the doctors say it's a body.

    Will it grow away for him? Or is this something he will be able to live with? Thinking based on his age of 14, he got his last body attack in September.

    1. Hey! It is unusual to have a body with each cold at the age of 14. It may make sense to see a pediatrician to review the medical history and see that there are no signs of asthma, for example, and also decide if an ear doctor's assessment would be of value.

  2. Hey!

    As many others here have written, thank you for this site! Here I sit in the middle of the night with my six year old who has not had such problems since he was a baby, and it helps tremendously to be able to read from good sources about what is happening and how to act. You must forget 🙂 The little boy suddenly got a barking cough and that characteristic sound when inhaled, he has not even been cold so you become quite anxious. But we sat down on the sofa (he sleeps on, it takes a lot to wake him up) and after half an hour it has eased. But you have to google a lot at that time, so wonderful to find a page with good info! Thanks!

    1. Hey!

      How nice to hear that this site is valuable to you! Get on the little guy!


  3. Hello,
    Super good blog that I often read when we have problems with the kids!

    My question… my oldest son almost 4 years now has had body for a week and a half.
    Two visits to the health center to be sent to the nursery there. He had a great job with breathing, which has now improved. Has been included and not able to play during this time, except for a while today. But the cough sits so that none of us sleep at night. Host attacks at least once per hour which lasts about 15 minutes. It's never been this long before, and he's so fierce he can barely talk. so my question… How long is it "okay" for the cough cough to be so cumbersome?
    During a hospital visit, I received cortisone, now also the pelvic penis. Have previously had airomir and flutide due to cold asthma.


    1. Hi Maria!

      That sounds awkward. If it doesn't get better, it's good to have him assessed again. Is there any pediatrician in outpatient care where you live? So maybe you can get a booked time of the day with a little more peace and quiet than the nursery ...

  4. Thanks for the post and to everyone who commented. Have a daughter of 6 who has always had a cold asthma. She had a body attack for the first time an hour ago. Gave 4-5 puffs flutide, mostly because we thought it was asthma first, helped something. After that on with the cap and out on the balcony in my lap, sitting embedded in the quilts (-2 degrees outside). Talked soothing to her and after 10 she was so good that I could put her in our bed. Run with an open window, she has just fallen asleep & breathed pretty well. Is still a little worried, the body came as a flash from clear sky, so keep me awake and write here 🙂

  5. Hi, thanks for a great blog. Last night we were awakened by our 1-year-old who got body for the first time, quickly realized what they were because of the special sound. Today we were recommended to buy decongestant nasal spray in case she gets body on several occasions. We need to spray the nasal spray in the mouth, which should apparently help when they are decongestant. do you know if they have any proven effect and if I can use nasal spray from 2-years to my just-filled 1-year-old if they happen again, when I do not find any decongestant from the lower age.

    1. It would surprise me a lot if the nasal spray came down to the vocal cords, which are swollen at the body. It probably collects on the tongue and back of the throat and does not help. It also tastes very bitter.

  6. Hi and thanks for good info on krupp! My son had a seizure last night and after a visit to the emergency room and a few waking hours we will be back at home on the sofa tonight. He is not very cold so I would have otherwise judged him as kindergarten-ok today. No one cares if they have been home with the children or if they go to daycare as usual when they have a body. What is wise? Can the trachea heal better if you take a few days home? Does it infect?
    With kind regards,

    1. The body does not contaminate but the cold does. Go to kindergarten if the child can participate in the activities, otherwise rest at home.

  7. Hey!
    Was with my daughter for two years last night / early this morning when I suspected body. Talked to a nurse in 1177 and she was the one who thought I would go in and get it documented. But how do you know for sure that it is a body? She must have had a slight seizure but no one listened to her but I just said I thought it was a body, the daughter got an ice cream we sat there for two hours and then went home again. She has now coughed once more so far, but how do you know that it is just body or if it is maybe someone wrote above asthma ?! Can it come every night / night?

    Mvh a worried mom !.

    1. Hey!
      I do not agree with the nurse on 1177 that it is a good idea to go to the nursery at night for the documentation. Applying for the child is difficult to breathe and needs help. Otherwise, the child will feel better at home.

  8. Hey!
    If Mollipect does not help with cough or body, what is it used for?

    I have a girl of 11 years. She had body when she was younger and she always got desenthol and lepheton. The last time she got lepheton and Mollipect. They then said that mollipect and desenthol worked the same way.

    Now my daughter of 15 months has got body, and my habit faithful, I gave her mollipect to widen the airways.

  9. My son is ten years old. Doctors have always said that it grows away after five years… .he's only getting worse. We have Bricanyl. Tonight was a really hard night when he, who would otherwise be calm, panicked. We live far from all hospitals so do not feel safe at all times. what should I ask for help for him?

    1. A body that only gets worse and worse in such a big child I would probably let an ear-nose-throat specialist have a look.

    1. It's a kind of cortisone preparation. Strong cortisone. Works against a group by acting despondent but has a lot of side effects and therefore, if it is to be printed for home use, should only be printed for home use in exceptional cases (read very difficult, recurring group).

  10. Thanks for a great blog!
    I have a daughter of two years who gets a body with every cold. She often has a little trouble breathing.

    The last time we were in the emergency room, in addition to the emergency treatment Mollipect, we were given a discharge to give before night at the body. We don't think it has that much effect, but it's hard to know if it would have been worse if we didn't give it.
    Do you usually give mollipect at body and does it have any effect?

  11. Thanks for the great post.
    Have a little guy, 3 months premature. Been very ill until this summer, various infections. Has cold asthma. Uses nebunet, singulair and flood time as well as some other small and good. Yesterday night it hit this pretty well. Wore him upright in his arms. Fall asleep after a while. Then sat for an hour with him in his arms. Come to rest just before it was dax to rise. Been to children, the body noted. Got Betapred as well as lepheton. Read here that the latter makes no use ???? We start wondering why we got it

    1. Because the doctor at Barnakuten had not read about the research situation behind group treatment but did what they usually do and who probably learned from some older doctor who also usually does so.

  12. Awesome and informative blog!

    My daughter (6 and a half months) got last night what I think was a body attack. She has been cold for several weeks, but no fever.

    Of course, we got scared when it started and we got more panicked than the child himself first.
    Before it became the worst we might have done it stupid, we Googled. Everything pointed to body.

    While cohabiting and googling, I had instinctively already carried the daughter up and tried to calm her down. It helped pretty much immediately!
    She stopped coughing and it almost stopped cackling.

    After a while I laid her down in bed again. After a few minutes she started to cough so she peeked and began to breathe very quickly and strained. The coughing sounds were not like the usual coughing sounds that lasted these two weeks. That's what we reacted to first. The sound had a voice I can't describe unfortunately.

    I picked her up again, and it brought with it immediately after a few minutes.

    Reading about krupp was like reading about exactly what we have been through.

    She got to sleep in our bed, on the back of our pillows. The night was quiet but she breathed very fast all night.

    The next day she was back as usual, but we went to the emergency room to quickly be sent home again. That is, they found nothing wrong.
    The comment was "Yes it may have been a body, you may come in tonight if she gets worse"

    We have 9 MIL to the emergency!
    We have health centers much closer than that, but the nearest pediatrician is at 9 km.

    Apparently, you don't look so seriously at this. At least we got pretty unchallenged and kind of what are you doing here with a healthy kid!

  13. Thanks for your reply! Which medicine is good for the body? We have not received a clear and unequivocal response from the healthcare professionals we have met. Although they are very yellow on the emergency, when we have been inhaled and inhaled but they are only help for the moment. The doctor we met at BVC wanted to print Lehepton (maybe not spelled that way ...) Is it against the body? We are often in the mountains where it is very far to healthcare so you are at least very worried. But I guess the "crunch season" is starting to wane now?

    1. Lepheton does not work against krupp and the Swedish Medicines Agency clearly advises against printing it against krupp. In the case of medicines that work, I wrote about them in the post above.

  14. Hey! What a great blog! I have a girl of 1.5 years who has body. Now we have printed Flutide inhalation spray and a nebunette for it. The doctor we got to see now, at the third group attack, was giant unchallenged and first wrote out the wrong medicine, they discovered at Apoteket. Now I wonder if Flutide is something you give children in case of group attacks (be it the doctor's prescription, not prevention or so)?

    1. Inhalation cortisone (eg Flutide) is not usually used in body. Mainly because it usually does not have any effect on the body trouble which, after all, debuts quickly and almost always only sits for one or two days. Flutide takes a couple of days to get the effect off. This is why you should start with Flutide at the first cold symptoms in children with cold asthma. Asthma disorders often start after a few days and last (untreated) much longer than the body does.

  15. Well described but I as an experienced nurse got me a nut when my own son of two years was breathing affected with oxygen saturation of 72%. He was diagnosed with a body. I protested: After all, no coughing has come from the kid !!! But it could certainly be ... body without cough is also present.

  16. How common is it to print pulmicort against fake group. I have 4 children where child number 2 (one son) has been completely hopeless. He started as a 7-month baby and then we drove 8-9 emergency trips per year for several years. In principle, once a month from September to May. He gets really, really bad and all emergency trips usually end with them running and tearing him out of our hands. The doctors also closed our eyes and told us to call an ambulance instead of going in themselves.

    We have beta-prat at home but it does not work, it does not seem fast enough so we still have to get into the rush and on the road he is guaranteed to cough so he vomits and so you do not know how much is left in the body.

    The big change for us came when we got pulmicort printed. First on the spray (but it is now out of the range) to breathe in such a tube but now he has an inhaler. He gets a relatively high dose. Think it is 3 puffs at a time of a spray with 200 micrograms per puff and then we have to repeat that dose a maximum of 3 times in one night but then we usually slip in and we usually drop the beta spread. It is enough to sit upright with him and half asleep so we make our way through the night without breathing over and becoming too bad. The important thing is to medicate him as soon as we hear that it is going on. Otherwise it is run.

    We got the hint to ask for pulmicort by another family who has a fairly extreme body and it works as said very well for our son but I have got the impression that it is quite unusual for it to be printed and our pediatrician didn't really believe in it either but didn't think there was anything to lose considering how risky the son was each time.

    And yes, as you write. Keeping calm yourself is a and o. Many times, in easier cases (it gets his siblings) turn it yourself only when you are calm. If at some point the child manages to calm down and breathe without any beeps or squeals, there is hope of doing it at home. It is in my experience.

  17. Hey! Oh, what a great blog you started! So cleverly written!
    As for adrenaline inhalation at body, should you give it even if the child is over 1 year if you suspect body or should you try to give other trachea inhalation? Remember that I had to learn that children under 1 year should have adrenaline namely.

    1. Even children over one year of age should have adrenaline in the body. In the case of asthma / obstructivity, on the other hand, ventoline or equivalent first choice is for children over 6-12 months. Adrenaline primarily for obstructive toddlers.

  18. What good with a post about krupp! I was going to ask that! 🙂

    I am a pretty used group parent since the eldest son has had it since the age of six months. Now he is almost nine and it still happens sometimes even if it is not with every cold anymore.

    I must say that your blog is very good. You manage to be informative and clear without writing anyone on the nose. 🙂

  19. Hi, my three year old has had many, many difficult body attacks since the age of 10 months. Also has infectious triggered asthma. Last winter we got Singulair granules printed for him to take during colds. Since then he has only had occasional body attacks and then quite mild ones. For example, have not had to give beta talk once and have only had to breathe adrenaline once. If it is that he has grown older or that the medicine works, I do not know, but it has now become much, much better for him after we started giving him Singulair.

    1. Interesting! Did a search to see if there is anything published about Singulair and krupp and what I can see does not. It is not at all impossible that it can have a connection. So good that it has gotten better for him, whether it is age or Singulair.

  20. The son's first body attack was a complete nightmare. From nowhere to a little guy who fought for life with every breath. I wrapped him in a blanket and sat with him on the stairs outside. Her husband called 112 in the meantime. Finally, he came out with the handset in his hand and says: "I say that Sture is very difficult to breathe and is completely weak, but they do not want to send an ambulance!" Monster mother (who has a master's degree in medicine and realizes that the greatest benefit with that is when communicating with health care about sick children) chops the handset, explains that the child has lost all muscle tone and has a very forced inspiration as well as expiration (ie exactly the same as the husband said, albeit with medical terms ...). 5 minutes later the ambulance whistled into our driveway and we went on to the pediatric emergency room where the doctor was waiting for us. Yep, Sture was crap and there were two parents who gladly shredded 112 into small pieces. However, ALB was superb and took great care of us! But that feeling of not getting an ambulance when it really is needed ... it was terrible! In such situations, you have to become a monster mom or monster dad… .I was probably anything but nice…

    1. I shiver when I hear about children who do not receive an ambulance when they need to. Was in the DN recently about a big boy who did not receive an ambulance even though he was so difficult to breathe that he was lying in a respirator in the intensive care unit when he came to the hospital a few hours later 🙁 Monster moms and monster dads are sometimes needed.

  21. Thanks for this post! A month ago, I was involved with my two-year-old's very first body attack. It came from nowhere! Woke up after sleeping soundly for a couple of hours, with panic in his eyes, hard to breathe (both in and out) and this barking cough and wheezing. Since this was the first time I had a little panic inside and called 112. SOS sent the ambulance directly when she heard the son's breathing in the background. Got to inhale adrenaline and Ventoline, and got Betapred on the emergency. It turned out that the son had a body and asthma attack (?) Said the doctor ... After this awful night we continued to inhale the son with Vortex (Flutide and Airomir) for several weeks, he could barely go out in the winter cold without getting difficult to breathe and cough attacks .. is it common for children who get their first body attack to get worse in their asthma afterwards? The zone has been diagnosed with infectious asthma since before.

    Thank you very much for your blog, it is wonderful!

    1. Can't answer your question if it is common for children with asthma to get worse after the first group attack. However, we sometimes see the combination. Wise you were calling for an ambulance immediately when your child was panicking and hard to breathe! Dear mother!

  22. Above to read a simple group as I am used to it is usually called "false group". Has lived with many awake nights for over 20 years due to fake group. Our first child was prescribed Lepheton and Desentol and in the event of an emergency, we were given Beta tablets for dissolution in water. In children three, the doctor prescribed Mollipect which really did not work. It was difficult to give and gave no relief. Now with children five (which gets the worst) we have been made to feel like awful parents. How can we give Lepheton and Desentol that are so dangerous when they sleep? In addition, Betapred should not really be given as this medicine provides growth retardation for two weeks. So now we have an inhaler that we can use. Here is the only time I use bribes. He gets candy as a reward when he clearly breathes in it. Has worked so far. However, increasingly need to remember that he should drink something afterwards because I understand that the medicine can cause fungus in the mouth if you do not rinse.

    When our son is in a croup period, we usually try to put his head up high. Sometimes he gets to sleep while sitting in a fetal position and he can sit with my stomach as a raise and my thighs and chest as "fall protection" to the sides. We have the window open and he may have a hat on his head and clothes on his body.

    A and O when the child gets a body is really to keep himself calm and as you write, Cecilia may sing a soothing song or the like. Sometimes it helps to encourage the child to breathe at my pace, ie calmer.

    Thank you for bringing up important areas regarding children.

    1. Previously (and it remains!) This disease was called a false group or pseudo group to distinguish it from true body caused by diphtheria. We have now vaccinated away diphtheria (hurray!) So now we call the group we have left for group. I think and many others.

      Good to have an inhaler! Thanks for the super tips by the way.

      Too bad someone made you feel like a horrible parent 🙁 It is not the job of the health care and never has been.

      Lepheton-Desentol is not effective against body and it is now recommended not to use it against body.

    2. First read this answer now. The combination Lepheton and Desentol has helped all our children breathe better at body. However, we no longer give it because doctors refuse to print them. We can get Lepheton at your height. Unfortunately, the inhaler gives no direct effect. Our children may instead be awake and suffer through the night with us. Being out can help sometimes. Going to the hospital usually involves a long wait and the risk of being exposed to other illnesses. Betapred we give in an emergency. Thank you for your dedication.

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