One of more serious diseases of the upper respiratory tract is croup, an infectious and highly contagious condition that affects the larynx and trachea. Croup is a disease that may be caused by various viruses, such as influenza virus and adenovirus, but also, it can be induced by many other viruses that attack the respiratory system in humans. However, in the majority of cases, the virus that is responsible for the occurrence of this respiratory disorder is the parainfluenza virus.
When the virus attacks the larynx and trachea, they become inflamed and the first symptom that appears is constant cough that tends to become severe at night. Although croup is a viral infection in the majority of cases, there are also cases when it can be caused by bacteria.
How long is croup contagious?
Croup is a disease that typically affects children between 3 months and 5 years. Since it is highly contagious, it can be passed from a child to child very easily through infectious droplets of sneezing or coughing. Furthermore, a child can get the infection when touching the objects with infected mucus or sputum. In most cases, this disease lasts about a week. It tends to aggravate during nights when the child tries to sleep. The first two nights are the most difficult, and the symptoms that occur are fever and chillness, and as long as the symptoms last, the croup is contagious.
Symptoms of croup
The most obvious sign of this condition in children is a bluish and gray color on the mouth and area around the nose. Furthermore, the child who suffers from croup has constant cough and common cold, as well as fever, wheezing and headache. Other symptoms of croup are problems with breathing and swallowing, and pain in the throat. Many children may experience rapid heart rate and harsh sound while coughing. Moreover, stridor may occur, which is a name for a high-pitched voice that occurs when a child breathes heavily.
It is very important to take the child to a doctor if several serious symptoms that are mentioned above are noticed. Otherwise, serious complications can be induced if croup is left untreated, and one of them is pneumonia. When croup is only mild, it is not necessary to take the child immediately to see a doctor. For an infected child, it is important to inhale the steam of a hot water or a moist air. It is very good for the respiratory system. Furthermore, drinking as much liquid as the child can is highly recommended.