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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:47 pm
'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.

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