Is Croup Contagious?

Croup is an infection that most parents with young children are aware of, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy thing to deal with! While it’s true that croup is generally harmless, the cough that young children have to experience sounds awful and can be a cause for concern. Plus, croup is contagious!

Learn more about this respiratory infection from our AFC Urgent Care Hixson team below.

What Causes Croup?

The most common cause of croup is a viral infection that leads to swelling of the larynx (voice box) and trachea (windpipe). The most common virus that causes croup is the parainfluenza virus.

Young children between the ages of 3 months and 5 years are the age group most affected by croup, and if they do get it, they will generally be contagious for the first three days or until the fever (if they get one) goes away. Croup is most common during the winter months, so we’ve listed the symptoms to be aware of below.

Common Croup Symptoms

  • Loud barking cough that’s further aggravated by things like crying, anxiety and agitation, which can cause a cycle of worsening signs and symptoms
  • Fever
  • Hoarse voice
  • Breathing that may be noisy or labored

How Can I Prevent Croup?

Croup can be prevented the same way as other viruses and illnesses: by washing hands frequently and thoroughly, avoiding people who are sick and maintaining proper hygiene, such as coughing and sneezing into shirt sleeves.

While these prevention tactics will surely help prevent croup, they aren’t foolproof. If the unfortunate happens and your child does get croup, we’ve listed some reasons to consider visiting our AFC center for treatment below.

When to Take Your Child to the Doctor

  • Makes noisy, high-pitched breathing sounds both when inhaling and exhaling
  • Makes high-pitched breathing sounds when not crying or agitated
  • Begins drooling or has difficulty swallowing
  • Breathes at a faster rate than usual
  • Struggles to breathe
  • Develops blue or grayish skin around the nose, mouth or fingernails (cyanosis)

Not sure if your child is dealing with croup? We can provide an accurate diagnosis, so don’t hesitate to visit our AFC Urgent Care Hixson center today!