Croup also known as Laryngotracheabronchitis is a contagious viral disease mainly occurring in kids between the ages of three to six. It is caused due to attack of virus in the upper airway (larynx) and windpipe (trachea) because kids at this stage have soft and susceptible windpipe which is in developing stage. During croup infection mucus gets deposited in the larynx which causes hoarseness and barking cough.
This condition aggravates during the night because at night the air is cooler and when the child cries then too this problem increases. The first symptom detected for croup is sore throat and running nose, which are the symptoms of common cold. But these symptoms change to hoarse voice, barking cough and noisy breathing with time leading to viral infection. Crying worsens the situation and makes the voice more hoarse and breathing more noisy and heavier.
So you should prevent your child from crying and weeping if found suffering from croup. This disease is not found in adults and teenagers; children are more susceptible to croup because of soft and developing wind pipe.
Croup is contagious too, means it spreads from one croup patient to another one in direct or indirect contact with a child suffering from croup or by touching the infected mucous also it spreads. The basic lifecycle of croup is 7 to 10 days in which after 2-3 days it reaches its peak.
Croup symptoms suddenly lay their feet in the windpipe so the child might sleep fit and fine at night and when wakes up in the morning he might be infected with croup. The two main symptoms of croup are cough and inspiratory stridor.
The cough produced during croup sounds like a ‘barking seal’ whereas during common cold the cough is wet or dry or deep cough. Inspiratory stridor is loud, harsh and high pitched sound the child produces while breathing which is totally different from wheezing. Croup generally accompanies barking cough and stridor, along with mild fever in few cases which might increase to 104 degrees F.
There might be decrease in appetite also. Croup can be treated by doctor and it is curable disease. Taking your kid to the doctor helps a lot. However proper care should be taken after the treatment too because there are many viruses which cause different types of croups like parainfluenza virus, adenovirus, respiratory synclinal virus (RSV) and influenza virus (flu virus).
So each time the kid gets treated for one specific virus and might develop croup by getting infected from the one. There are no specific methods for saving your child from croup but inculcating good habits like washing hands regularly with good anti bacterial soap, not sharing food and drinks also helps your child from contracting croup.
Avoid getting in tough with other people suffering from croup. Mild croup can be treated at home by giving the kid humified air. Warm steam also helps in reducing croup and relaxes heavy breathing and cough. If the croup aggravates and fever develops take him to the doctor, who will take an X-ray and administer some steroids and give some cough syrup to reduce stridor and improve the condition.