Health A-Z

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The doctor will review your child's symptoms. He or she will ask whether your child has been exposed to anyone with a cough or cold.

The doctor also will review your child's immunizations for Haemophilus influenzae. Without these immunizations, this bacterium can cause epiglottitis. Epiglottis is a potentially life-threatening infection that can suddenly block the windpipe. Symptoms of epiglottitis can be similar to those of croup.

Usually, your child's doctor can diagnose croup based on your child's history, symptoms and a physical examination.

If your child's symptoms are severe or unusual, X-rays or other tests may be needed. These tests will check for more severe illnesses of the lungs or throat, including epiglottitis.

Rarely, when a child has severe breathing difficulties, hospital care is necessary.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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