Croup is one of the serious viral infections of theupper respiratory tract, which affects the larynx and trachea, which is the vocalbox, windpipe, vocal cords and the bronchial tubes. Laryngotracheitis is the medical term for this viralinfection that is the most frequent in infants under three years of age. The maleinfants are more affected by croup than the female infants.
Croup is a viral infection that may be caused byvarious viruses, such as influenza virus and adenovirus. Nevertheless, in most cases,the virus that is responsible for the incidence of this respiratory disorder isthe para-influenza virus. After the virus enters the larynx and trachea, theybecome inflamed and the first symptom that appears is persistent cough that tends to become severe at night.
Even though croup is a viral infection in themajority of cases, there are also cases when it can be caused by bacteria. It is highly contagious and can be passed from childto child very easily through infectious droplets, when the infected infant sneezesor coughs. Moreover, an infant can get infected when he/she touches the objectswith infected mucus or sputum. The infection lasts about a week, in the majority ofcases. It tends to aggravate during the nights and the first two nights are themost difficult.
Symptoms of croup
The infected infants usually get a bluish and graycolor on the mouth and area around the nose. Also, the children who suffer fromcroup have steady cough and common cold. Fever, wheezing and headache are also thesymptoms of this viral infection. The infants with croup may also experience certainproblems with breathing and swallowing and pain in the throat. Rapid heart rateand harsh sound while coughing may also occur. Stridor or a high-pitched voice that occurs when achild breathes heavily is also one of the warning signs of croup.
When the croup is only mild, it is not necessary totake the child to a doctor. The parents should do several things in that case. Thechild should inhale the steam of a hot water or a moist air because it is verygood for the respiratory system. In addition to that, the child should drinkplenty of water and stay well hydrated. However, it is very important to take the child to adoctor if several serious symptoms that are mentioned above are noticed. If not, there are serious complications thatcan be caused if croup is left untreated, such as pneumonia.