Croup is a common respiratory illness that affects children. As a parent or caregiver, you might have heard of croup and are wondering whether it's contagious. The short answer is yes; croup is highly contagious and can spread easily from person to person.
What Is Croup?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of whether or not croup is contagious, let's first define what it is. Croup is a viral infection that affects the throat and vocal cords, causing them to swell. This swelling leads to difficulty in breathing and causes what's known as a "barking cough." Children between the ages of six months to three years old are more prone to getting croup than any other age group.
Symptoms of croup usually come on suddenly and can be pretty scary for parents who witness their child struggling to breathe. Here are some symptoms your child may experience if they have croup:
- Barking cough
- Hoarse voice
- High-pitched whistling sound when inhaling (stridor)
- Difficulty breathing
- Mild fever
If your child experiences these symptoms, it's vital you seek medical attention immediately.
How Does It Spread?
Now onto the big question - how does croup spread? It spreads through droplets that become airborne when an infected individual talks, sneezes or coughs near someone else who then breathes in those same droplets.
Colds can also lead up to contracting 'croupey cough' but there're other reasons too which could lead to 'croupey cough'.
Once exposed,it takes 2–5 days for signs and symptoms of croupey-cough related illnesses such as rhinovirus/flu/unknown pathogens etc.to start appearing after being exposed/infecting a person.
Hitting Close To Home
Parents of children who attend childcare centres or schools are the ones more likely to encounter croup in their households. All that close contact between kids means illnesses get passed around quickly from child-to-child, even though some prevention measures could slow down the spread such as washing hands before and after leaving school premises, mandatory masks etc.(depending on country's protocols).
What Can You Do If Your Child Has Croup?
Croup can be treated at home through a few simple steps:
- Use a cool mist humidifier or take your child into a steamy bathroom
- Use over-the-counter fever reducers such as acetaminophen/ibuprofen according to doctors' dosage regimen.
- Allow your child plenty of rest
- Give them fluids regularly
If your child is experiencing breathing difficulties or develops blue lips (which indicate poor oxygen intake), then they need immediate medical attention.
Don't hesitate to call emergency services if you notice any sudden change in symptoms whatsoever; better safe than sorry!
How Can You Prevent It?
Like with most illness that spreads through droplets, the most important prevention measure is practicing good hygiene like keeping things sanitized as much possible(hand-sanitizers/washing hands) and wearing face-covers/masks when social distances go out for groceries where there're chances of coming across many people .
Being vaccinated guarantees minimum risks associated with known virus strains which make makes it easy for parents wishing to avoid future dangers posed by viruses .Some vaccine manufacturers incorporate these variables while making vaccines thereby improving antigen integrity against little studied new variants somewhat including croupey ones found relatively recently although relying solely on vaccines should not be done without consulting designated authorities/doctors since different situations warrant different interests/case studies/vaccine expertise so decisions made regarding vaccination may vary based upon particular case circumstances however getting advised/thorough research will aid any ultimate decisions.
In conclusion, croup is indeed contagious and spreads quickly among children in contact with each other. However, there are prevention measures that you can take to reduce the risk of your child contracting this illness such as practicing good hygiene habits and allowing them plenty of rest if they do get sick. If you're concerned about your child's symptoms, don't hesitate to talk to a healthcare professional for help!