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How Long is Croup Contagious?

How Long is Croup Contagious?

Croup, a respiratory disorder, is a highly contagious infection that lasts for four to seven days and needs to be diagnosed faster to provide proper medical care and attention. Go through this article to learn more about the causes, symptoms and treatment for this condition.
Suvamita Ghosh
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
Does your child complain that he is finding it hard to breathe or speak? Does he have symptoms like a runny nose, nasal irritation, severe cough, congestion or hoarseness? If yes, then your child could be suffering from croup. Investigate and diagnose your child's condition to know whether it is a severe or mild one. Severe croup is considered life-threatening and needs medical attention immediately.
Croup is an infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract which affects the larynx and trachea. It is mostly seen in infants and young children. It spreads through respiratory secretions.
Parainfluenza virus is the main causative agent for this condition. Some other viruses that can cause this condition are influenza virus and adenovirus. The inflammation of the larynx and trachea is often marked by persistent cough. The coughing increases mostly at night.
Croup Symptoms
Now, you may ask how long is croup contagious? It is contagious till the symptoms last. The first and second night will be worst for the sufferer. It usually lasts for a week and becomes more severe during nights.
Croup is commonly seen in children who are in the age group of 3 months to 5 years. It is very rare in adults. If you notice these symptoms, then your child needs prompt medical care and attention.
The symptoms stay for four to seven days, and in some cases, the skin around the mouth and nose may turn blue or gray.

  • Viral signs for croup are mostly common in premature babies and kids who are less than three years.
  • Discoloration of the skin is noticed near the nose, lips, tongue, ear lobes, fingers and toenails. This is because of the lack of oxygen in the blood.
  • The symptoms include:
    • Common cold and harsh coughing
    • Headache
    • Wheezing
    • Fever
    • Painful throat
    • Breathing troubles
    • Restlessness
    • Difficulty in swallowing
    • Difficulty when trying to speak
    • Change in the pitch or quality of the voice
    • Rapid heart rate
    • Harsh sound coming out while coughing
  • The high-pitched sound produced due to heavy breathing is called stridor.
  • Milder cases can be treated with home remedies, but in few cases, the child may develop complications like pneumonia. Always consult your pediatrician before giving your child any dosage of medicines.
  • Make sure to keep your child away from pollution and dust, as it may aggravate the breathing problems. Have your child wear a protective face mask when traveling. Avoid smoking when your child is suffering from croup.
  • Hot Steam Treatment - Fill the bathtub with hot water, and keep the bathroom door closed. Make your child sit adjacent to the bathtub and ask him to inhale the steam for 10-15 minutes. The entry of steam into the respiratory tract helps to open the airways, thereby making breathing easier.
  • You could also keep a wet cloth over your child's mouth or nose and let him inhale the moist air. Moist air works well to relieve breathing troubles.
  • It is advisable that you do not give any cough medicines to your child but consult a doctor for medicines.
  • Once your child starts breathing normally, maintain a good diet plan for him. It is also recommended that you feed your child semiliquid and liquid food; it will help him to swallow the food easily and without pain.

It is seen that kids mostly suffer from croup during winter and spring seasons. If the home remedies do not work out for the child, then take him/her immediately to a doctor. Croup, being a contagious disease, needs to be treated on time to prevent severe health complications. Try to limit direct contact with other adults or children who have upper respiratory infection as chances of the child becoming ill are more because croup is highly contagious in nature. Seek medical advice, if things get out of control or when your child struggles to breathe.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that this HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only. It is neither intended, nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.