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Acute management of croup in the emergency department.

Croup is one of the most common causes of upper airway obstruction in young children. It is characterized by sudden onset of barky cough, hoarse voice, inspiratory stridor and respiratory distress caused by upper airway inflammation secondary to a viral infection. Published guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of croup advise using steroids as the mainstay treatment for all children who present to emergency department (ED) with croup symptoms. Dexamethasone, given orally as a single dose at 0.6 mg/kg, is highly efficacious in treating croup symptoms. Despite the evidence supporting the use of steroids as the cornerstone of croup treatment, there is significant practice variation among physicians treating croup in the ED. This practice point discusses evidence-based management of typical croup in the ED.

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