New approaches to respiratory infections in children. Bronchiolitis and croup

Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2002 Feb;20(1):93-114. doi: 10.1016/s0733-8627(03)00053-1.


Croup is a disease that is commonly seen in children younger than the age of 6 years. The cause is viral, with parainfluenza viruses and RSV being the two most common pathogens. Treatment consists primarily of supportive care, and parents usually have tried humidification and cool air exposure before the child presents to the ED. Children with moderate to severe croup are usually seen in the ED. The use of steroids in an oral preparation results in a clinical improvement of outpatients with mild to moderate croup and reduces the need for hospitalization. The dosage range for oral dexamethasone is 0.15 mg/kg to 0.6 mg/kg. Nebulized budesonide may also be used. Racemic or L-epinephrine, both of which are equally effective, can be used for symptomatic treatment in severe croup. After administration of racemic or L-epinephrine, hospitalization is not automatic and patients can be discharged safely from the ED after a 3-hour of observation period. There should be no respiratory distress, and the patient should have access to follow-up and emergency care if needed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Bronchiolitis / diagnosis
  • Bronchiolitis / epidemiology
  • Bronchiolitis / therapy*
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Croup / diagnosis
  • Croup / epidemiology
  • Croup / therapy*
  • Epinephrine / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Ribavirin / therapeutic use
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Ribavirin
  • Epinephrine