Croup

Is Croup Contagious?

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

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
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Reviewed on 12/14/2015
Slideshow: Children's Health - Childhood Illnesses Every Parent Should Know

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