An infection of the upper airway which generally affects children and causes obstruction in breathing and a telltale barking cough is referred to as croup. Inflammation around the bronchi or bronchial tubes, trachea or windpipe and larynx or vocal cords is the reason for the cough and other croup symptoms. Young children having ages in between 1 and 3 years old are commonly affected by croup. When the children grow up, their breathing tube becomes wider and firmer. This is why after a child reaches the age of 6 years, the chances of croup decrease. However, children up to the age of 15 can have croup and sometimes even adults can get affected by it too. You should never neglect it!
The fall and winter are the seasons in which most cases of croup arise. There is a 15% risk of other members of the family getting croup if one of the family members has fallen prey to it.
Adult croup patients usually sense the starting of a respiratory infection of the upper airways during the croup incubation period of two to four days. In this period, a low-grade fever, rhinorrhea and a mild cough are the only symptoms that appear.
Later on, inflammation, erythema and exudate are caused because of release of inflammatory factors resulting in cough. The cough of croup resembles the sound made by seals and makes a harsh barking noise. The swelling of the vocal cords might lead to hoarseness because of the cough but swallowing generally remains unaffected. Croup becomes worse at night which might require you to visit the family physician or the emergency department of your nearest hospital late in the night.
Here’s what croup sounds like in adults and one sufferer shares how she feels:
Croup is most often caused by para influenza virus which is a viral infection. Breathing the infected respiratory droplets sneezed or coughed into the air can cause you to contract the virus. Virus particles present in the air-borne droplets remain potent even if they come in contact with any surface.
Although croup cases are usually mild, some of them can become serious, requiring additional treatment.
As is the case with other viral infections, there remains a risk of passing the infection of croup to others especially if you come in close contact with other people.
The preventive measures that are employed for the prevention of common cold and influenza are usually adopted for croup too, as it is also a transmissible respiratory disease.