Croup

  • Medical Author:
    John Mersch, MD, FAAP

    Dr. Mersch received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego, and prior to entering the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine, was a graduate student (attaining PhD candidate status) in Experimental Pathology at USC. He attended internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Is Croup Contagious?

Croup is contagious. Symptoms of croup usually develop two to three days after exposure to viruses that cause the disease.

Quick GuideChildhood Illnesses: A Parenting Guide to Sick Kids

Childhood Illnesses: A Parenting Guide to Sick Kids

Croup facts

  • Croup is an infection of the larynx, trachea, and the bronchial tubes usually caused by viruses. Less frequently, croup may be caused by bacteria.
  • Croup is contagious, especially during the first few days of the illness.
  • A cough that sounds like a barking seal and a harsh raspy "Darth Vader" sound during inhalation are symptoms of croup.
  • Treatment of croup can include cool moist air, saltwater nose drops, pain and fever medication, fluids, and very rarely antibiotics. In certain circumstances, a pediatrician may prescribe a single dose of an anti-inflammatory medication (dexamethasone). Over-the-counter decongestants, cough and cold medications, and aspirin should not be given.
  • The major concern in croup is progressive breathing difficulty as the air passages narrow.
  • Close monitoring of the breathing of a child with croup is important, especially at night. Continue Reading
Reviewed on 12/14/2015
References
REFERENCES:

Malhotra, A., and L.R. Krilor. "Viral Croup." Pediatrics in Review 22.1 Jan. 2001: 5-12.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Human Parainfluenza Viruses (HPIVs)." Aug. 18, 2015. <http://www.cdc.gov/parainfluenza/index.html>.

Woods, Charles R. "Patient Information: Croup in Infants and Children." UptoDate.com. Aug. 18, 2010. <http://www.uptodate.com/patients/content/topic.do?topicKey=~IJIXh1W5371lMy>. IMAGES:

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4. MedicineNet

5. BigStock

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