False croup

False croup (stenosing laryngotracheitis) can be infectious or allergic. This disease is an edema of the larynx, its narrowing, as a result of which breathing becomes difficult and suffocation and asphyxia may occur.

False croup is more common in the younger generation at the age of 6 months. up to 7 years old - due to the anatomical nuances of the structure of the children's larynx. The disease is dangerous due to laryngeal edema, which can block the access of oxygen to the lungs. Therefore, at the first sign of croup, seeking help from a medical institution should not be postponed.

It is called false because, unlike diphtheria, it does not create a film on the tonsils that blocks the airways. So what is this false croup from an anatomical point of view? This is a stenosis or narrowing of the larynx due to its edema, which appears due to infection by a virus or infection.

Actions for the first symptoms of false croup

If you suspect a baby has a false croup, you need to immediately call an ambulance. The first aid for false croup, until the ambulance arrives, should be the following:

  • open windows in a room or car, providing fresh air to the patient;
  • free the child from clothes that are tight on the chest and throat;
  • drip vasoconstrictor drops into the child's nose;
  • do inhalations (with saline), if it is not possible to do inhalations with false croup, you can breathe hot steam from a saucepan or emanating from a stream of hot water from a tap in the bathroom;
  • provide the baby with the amount of drinking water he needs, but not force him to drink a lot to avoid vomiting;
  • if there is a temperature, give an antipyretic;
  • if the child stops breathing, press on the root of the tongue, thereby causing vomiting;
  • give antihistamine tablets to reduce swelling.


This disease is provoked by a virus or infection. Croup is activated against the background or after influenza and other viral infections of the upper respiratory tract, due to the defeat of the larynx by various kinds of viruses. Rarely - due to trauma to the larynx. Various kinds of cocci and Escherichia coli also provoke the onset of this ailment.

Why do children suffer from this disease? Because in their nasopharynx, ideal conditions are created for the occurrence of edema:

  • the unique size and structure of the child's trachea and larynx (easily and quickly squeezed by the surrounding tissues);
  • the vocal cords are located high in children, therefore, they are vulnerable to infection through the nasopharynx;
  • the nervous system in children is not yet fully formed, the work of reflex zones is imperfect.

But not all children suffer from croup, but those who are at risk due to:

  • the sex of the child - boys get sick more often;
  • a predisposition to allergic reactions to food or certain medications;
  • birth trauma;
  • overweight;
  • frequent illnesses that do not go away for a long time;
  • period after vaccination.

False croup classification

There is a gradation of this disease into viral and bactericidal croup - it all depends on the cause of its occurrence (etiology). If, in addition to signs of croup, there are signs of other, concomitant diseases, this is a complicated croup, if not, it is uncomplicated. There is a classification of croup according to the degree of stenosis (narrowing) of the larynx:

1 degree - compensated;

2nd degree - subcompensated;

3 degree - decompensated;

Grade 4 - the most severe, hypoxia.

Viral false croup

This type of croup occurs due to the defeat of the larynx by a virus, against the background of influenza or other acute respiratory infections, as a complication after measles, smallpox, herpes.

Bacterial false croup

It begins due to the defeat of the larynx by bacteria of streptococcus, enterococcus, Escherichia coli, staphylococcus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and hemophilic infections.

Therefore, if someone has doubts about whether false croup is contagious or not, we hasten to convince that this disease is contagious, transmitted by airborne droplets. The only exception is croup of allergic origin, it is not contagious.

False croup symptoms

Depending on the degree of stenosis:

1 degree . Manifested by orthopnea and shortness of breath with even small experiences and physical stress;

2nd degree . Permanent shortness of breath, during inhalation, the jugular fossa and the skin located between the ribs fall in. The voice sits down.

3 degree . Whistling breathing, barking cough, confusion, lethargy, when inhaling, the jugular fossa and the skin located between the ribs fall, the pulse is barely audible;

4 degree . No coughing, no loud breathing. There is very low pressure, confusion. The patient may fall into a coma and die from suffocation (asphyxiation). The larynx is so narrowed that it is not able to pass air, the patient with this degree of stenosis no longer coughs, the heart sounds are barely audible.


If treatment is delayed or absent altogether, complications may arise. If there was a stenosis of 2-3 degrees with respiratory failure, this can lead to the formation of bacterial flora and the appearance of fibrinous-purulent films in the larynx.

If the virus, with untimely or incorrect treatment, descends from the larynx down the respiratory tract, tracheobronchitis, bronchitis and even pneumonia can develop.


False croup in children

The diagnosis of "false croup" is made by a pediatrician on the basis of a visual examination of the child's larynx, listening to the lungs with a stethoscope. Since it is necessary to prescribe treatment and take action immediately, there is no time to wait for the test results.

An experienced physician can diagnose the etymology of false croup (it is viral or bacterial) without special equipment and laboratory measures, such as rhinoscopy, X-ray, etc. All these measures will be needed to diagnose possible complications after false croup.

How to recognize a false croup in a child at the onset of the disease? False croup develops against the background or after ARVI, flu. An attack of a false croup usually begins in the evening or even in the middle of the night, with a barking cough, accompanied by wheezing, difficulty breathing. The nasolabial triangle of the child acquires a bluish color, the voice becomes hoarse or disappears altogether. The child is scared, breathes quickly, shallowly.

In infants, the symptoms of false croup are the same as in older children, however, if treatment is not timely, the outcome of this disease in infants can be fatal, as it progresses faster. If the laryngeal edema is not removed, the baby may die from asphyxiation (suffocate).

Many parents ask themselves - is it possible for a baby to walk with a false rump? If the child does not have a temperature and if you do not communicate with peers so as not to infect them, then you can and should go for a walk. Fresh air is healing and accelerates recovery. Another frequent question of parents - to what age can a child develop false croup? We answer - up to 7 years. After 7 years in a child, due to anatomical features, the likelihood of a false croup disappears.

False croup in adults

In adults, the diagnosis of "false croup" is made by an otolaryngologist on the basis of a typical clinical picture for this disease. Alternatively, if in doubt, a pharyngeal smear and microlaryngoscopy are performed to identify and determine the causative agent of the disease. A number of specific laboratory tests can determine if it is viral or bactericidal. A general analysis, an acid-base blood test and a blood gas analysis determine the severity of hypoxia - an indispensable component of false croup.

False croup treatment

If you suspect a false croup, you should immediately consult a doctor and start treatment. In the medical diagnostic center "Clinic K + 31", the treatment of false croup will take place quickly and efficiently, without complications. A staff of qualified doctors, the latest medical equipment and a laboratory with all the necessary reagents and instruments will help to make the correct diagnosis and prescribe an adequate treatment for false croup in both children and adults.

And in order not to get sick at all, it is necessary to carry out the prevention of false croup. For the prevention of false croup in children, hardening is used, the child must lead a healthy lifestyle, regularly visit seaside resorts, swim in the pool, and eat right. Dress the child according to the weather, so that he does not overheat, but also does not freeze.

The air in the baby's room should be humid. But the most important thing is to prevent the baby from falling ill with viral infections, then false croup can be avoided. Do not visit public places at the time of massive epidemics of influenza and other diseases, make sure that the child's diet contains all the necessary trace elements and vitamins - without preservatives and food additives.

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