Croup is a viral infection that affects babies aging 6 months to 3 years; this infection causes the baby to have a cough, which sounds like a dog’s barking and sharp raspy sound called stridor while breathing. The symptoms of croup are a result of a swelling in the trachea which happens due to the contamination through the HPIVs viruses.
Croup infection is generally caused by the HPIVs. These are group of four viruses which if infected, cause the baby to have swelling in the vocal chords, trachea and/or bronchial tubes. This swelling makes it difficult for the baby to breathe hence making stridor. Coughing like the barking of the dog, which is intensified at night is also among the main symptoms of croup.
Is Croup Contagious?
Croup is caused by a virus that is air borne and is highly contagious in nature. This disease spreads through the airborne droplets created by the sneeze or cough of an infected person or child. The contamination of this croup virus remain over objects until washed or sterile, therefore it is suggested to not share any food, drinks, cups, plates, toys or any other utensils with a sick person or child. Croup virus can infect pregnant women too, but care should be taken so that it does not reach the fetus.
How Long Is Croup Contagious?
When it comes to croup, the infection is contagious during the incubation period and for about seven to ten days after the symptoms have become visible. It is during this time, that the infected child or the person should avoid contact with other people to help prevent croup from spreading further. The utensils and toys used by the child should also be washed thoroughly after use. Keeping your hands clean before and after taking care of the child are also some necessary precautions that need to be taken care of during this contagious period of croup.
Incubation Period for Croup
Incubation period is the time taken by the virus to show the symptoms of infection. In case of croup, the incubation period is short. Once the child has been exposed to the croup virus; the symptoms of barking cough and stridor become visible in two to three days. This period may even extend up to seven days after exposure.
How Do You Treat Croup At Home?
When having any doubt regarding croup, it is best to convey to a medical practitioner at the earliest and make sure of the diagnosis. Once confirmed, the measures for curing the same should be administered. Croup in kids can easily be treated at home whereas in adults immediate medical attention is needed. Given below are some ways in which you can treat croup at home:
Staying Calm: Among the most important measures that can be taken to ease the condition of croup in kids is to stay calm and to try and keep the patient calm. If the kid cries, the breathing difficulty is further intensified making the situation worse. Distracting the child, cuddling him or even reading a book should be resorted to try and keep the child calm.
Use Humidifier: Keeping the air that the baby breathes laden with moisture is known to ease the breathing difficulty for the baby. Installing a humidifier in the baby’s room is sure to make the moisture in the air increase and relieve the symptoms of croup easily at home.
Hot Shower: Holding the baby in a closed bathroom with a hot shower running also works well towards making the air that the baby breathes moisture rich. Again this moisture works towards easing the infection of croup.
Taking a Walk: If it’s a cool and damp evening, then taking a walk outside with your baby would also work towards helping the baby inhale moist air. The dampness in the air also works well in treating the condition of croup.
Holding the Child Upright: Making the child sit upright or if he cannot sit, holding the child upright helps the child breathe more easily and thus relieve the infection of croup at home.
Increase the Fluid Intake: Increasing the fluid intake like water, breast milk or any other fluid also helps the baby’s stay hydrated and moist. This simple home remedy helps in treating croup.
Rest: A well-rested body is in a better position to fight off any infection than a tired and exhausted body; therefore, rest should be encouraged to help the child fight croup effectively at home.
Fever Medicine: Any pain relieving or fever reducing medication might also be administered to the baby to help him cope better with croup.
Skip Cold Medicines: The cough in the croup is not because of any form of congestion or cold, Therefore medicines for cold or decongestants should not be given to the baby. Rather any non-prescription drugs should not be given to a baby aged less than two years.