What is Croup? What Causes it?

What is Croup? What Causes it?, Croup is a type of respiratory infection. It is caused mainly by viruses however, rarely it can also be caused by bacteria. The viruses that cause croup are mostly common flue virus that is influenza virus or para-influenza virus. During the infection the viruses cause swelling of the trachea making it difficult to breath.

Croup is commonly found in children ranging from the age of 6 months to 5 years. However, in some cases it may also occur till 12 years in some children. It’s main symptom is hoarse, barking like cough, accompanied by slight fever, runny nose, fatigue and in severe conditions even vomiting.

The barking sound is due to the narrowing of the trachea due to the swelling. Mostly it occurs in autumn and winter season, but its not season specific. The cough either starts or gets severe during the night time as compared to the day time.

Since croup is viral so yes it is contagious and can spread easily through coughing , sneezing or other mouth mucus. So, if a child is suffering from croup, its better to avoid sending him to crowded places.

Normally, croup is mild and will go away on its own but in severe cases the child may be hospitalized for 2 to 5 days depending upon the condition. When the croup cough starts, the first thing to do is to calm the child, because when the child gets scared by the sudden barking sound in the cough or hoarseness during breathing, it gets even worst.

So its very important to calm and distract the child. Secondly, making the child sleep in a relatively vertical position may also help the cough, it can be done easily by placing a big soft pillow. Steam works like miracle in croup. The steam not only kills the viruses but also cures the dryness of the throat.

Adults may also get this virus but since their respiratory track is fully developed and is wide enough for the virus to cause any swelling, that’s why it does not effect them. So instead it may cause simple flue.

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