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Lungs & Breathing - Child/Teen

Barky Cough (Croup)

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Croup is a common viral illness in children. The virus causes swelling of the throat, including the larynx (around the vocal cords) and the trachea (windpipe, or air passage from the throat to the lungs).

The swelling in the throat can change your child’s voice and cause a harsh, “barky” cough. Children with croup can get stridor – a high-pitched breathing sound made when they take a breath in, which can lead to difficulty breathing.

Croup affects younger children because their airways are smaller. Children between the ages of three months and five years old are most likely to get sick, but older children may have symptoms too. The same virus that causes croup in a young child can give cold symptoms to other family members

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Current as of: March 13, 2017

Author: Health Education and Learning Program (HEAL), Alberta Health Services