Croup is the worst! Even though this respiratory infection is a common one among young children, it causes a horrible-sounding cough that is tough for both parent and child to bear. Croup is common during the winter months, so how can you prevent your child from having to deal with it?

Our AFC Urgent Care Sevierville team provides some helpful answers below, so keep reading!

What Is Croup?

Croup is a viral upper respiratory infection that most often affects children between the ages of 3 months and 5 years. It’s characterized by a “barking” cough, which sounds like a seal or dog bark.

The cough and croup’s other signs and symptoms are caused by swelling around the larynx, windpipe (trachea) and bronchial tubes (bronchi). We’ve listed the most common croup symptoms below.

Common Symptoms of Croup

  • A barking cough
  • High-pitched or noisy breathing (stridor)
  • Hoarseness or loss of voice
  • Low-grade fever
  • Runny or stuffy nose

What Can I Do to Prevent Croup?

Since croup is almost always caused by a virus, it’s contagious and can be spread by contact or through the air. Children who have croup are usually contagious for at least three days or, if they have a fever, until the fever is gone.

Like most viruses, croup can usually be prevented by sticking with proper hand hygiene and avoiding people who are sick. Although the below-mentioned prevention tactics don’t provide 100% protection, they are effective.

Ways to Prevent Croup

  • Encourage your child to wash his or her hands frequently and for a least 20 seconds each time.
  • Encourage your child to cover his or her mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.
  • Keep your child home from school or daycare when he or she is ill or if outbreaks occur.
  • Throw used tissues away.

No one wants to deal with croup! If you believe your child might have it and you aren’t sure what to do, don’t hesitate to visit our AFC center to get the necessary treatment.