Croup - assessment and management

Aust Fam Physician. 2010 May;39(5):280-2.


Background: Croup is a common childhood disease characterised by sudden onset of a distinctive barking cough that is usually accompanied by stridor, hoarse voice, and respiratory distress resulting from upper airway obstruction. The introduction of steroids in the treatment of croup has seen a significant reduction in hospital admissions and improved outcomes for children.

Objective: This article discusses the key aspects of diagnosing croup and the evidence supporting the different treatment strategies.

Discussion: The assessment of airway, breathing and circulation, focusing on airway, is paramount in treating croup. However, it is important to take care not to cause the child undue distress. In mild to moderate croup, give prednisolone 1.0 mg/kg and review in 1 hour. In severe or life threatening croup, give 4 mL of adrenaline 1:1000 (undiluted) via nebuliser and send immediately to hospital via ambulance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Administration, Oral
  • Australia
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Croup / diagnosis*
  • Croup / mortality
  • Croup / therapy*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Emergencies
  • Epinephrine / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy
  • Prednisolone / administration & dosage*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Prednisolone
  • Epinephrine