Croup affects both kids and adults. It is an infection that affects the throat and vocal cords. Symptoms can be mild or severe.  It occurs mostly in the Spring or Fall but can occur any time of year.

Croup usually lasts just a few days and clears up on its own but some people may require medication to help clear up the infection. If symptoms worsen hospitalization may be required.

A cough and/or fever is one of the first notable symptoms to appear. The cough which sounds like a barking seal can cause trouble breathing if lasts too long. This is a serious symptom. As breathing becomes more labored wheezing and coughing can worsen. 

Hoarseness or laryngitis can also occur. When the throat becomes inflamed the vocal cords cannot close properly. Fatigue can occur with any illness but croup can cause trouble sleeping, eating and breathing which causes the body to use more energy to fight the illness resulting in severe fatigue.

Chest congestion is common also. Congestion with croup has a hacking sound and may or may not produce phlegm.

Drooling is another common symptom especially in younger children and the elderly. This can come on quickly and make it hard to breathe or talk. It usually occurs when lying down.

Croup spreads easily by airborne droplets (cough or sneeze) or by kissing, shared drinks or by touching a contaminated surface like a doorknob.

Croup requires a medical diagnosis, lab work, and chest x-ray are often required.

Janet Swenson, RN, BSN, MBA

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