Croup, which is marked by a harsh, repetitive cough similar to the noise of a seal barking, can be scary for both children and their parents. After all, attacks of croup may jar your children awake at night and leave them gasping for breath.
The harsh, barking cough of croup is the result of swelling around the vocal cords (larynx) and windpipe (trachea). When the cough reflex forces air through this narrowed passage, the vocal cords vibrate with a barking noise. Because children have small airways to begin with, those younger than age 5 are most susceptible to having more symptoms with croup.
Croup usually isn't serious. In fact, for most cases, croup can be treated at home. Sometimes, your child will need prescription medication.