'Croup' (KROOP) is the name given to a variety of types of conditions
that cause coughing and noisy breathing, usually in children under age
three. Croup is characterized by a loud, barking type of cough that can
be caused either by an infection or an allergic response. Most of the
infections that result in croup are viral, rather than bacterial, so they
can't be treated with antibiotics. If the croup is being caused by an
allergic reaction, there likely won't be a fever. It's important to try to
identify what's triggering the allergic response, in order to avoid future
coughing spells, whether it's pet dander; pollen from trees, grasses, and
weeds; pollution; dust or mold; secondhand tobacco smoke; or other
causes. You may also wish to have the child checked by a healthcare
professional to make sure the child doesn't have asthma (AZZ-muh).
Treatment for croup involves treating symptoms with over-the-counter
cough remedies. Having the child breathe steam--either from a warm
shower, or a vaporizer--may also help.