If an adult does develop croup symptoms, they’re usually mild and include a light cough or sore throat. However, some adults may develop more severe breathing symptoms and require hospitalization. Again, this is very rare.
Moderate to severe croup — Moderate to severe croup should be evaluated in an emergency department or clinic capable of handling urgent respiratory illnesses. Severe croup is a life-threatening illness, and treatment should not be delayed for any reason.
Croup is an infection that affects your breathing and causes a distinct “barking” cough. It usually impacts young kids, but in rare cases, adults can develop croup too.
The time to go to hospital is if your child gets noisy breathing that doesn’t go away when they are resting. If your child looks very sick, becomes pale and drowsy or their lips are blue in colour you should call an ambulance immediately.
Severe croup can cause breathing difficulties in general but if your child’s skin “caves in” around their neck or ribs when they try to inhale, you should seek urgent medical treatment. Serious infections can also cause stridor, which is noisy breathing, often high-pitched, caused by the narrowing of the airway.
Symptoms are most severe in children younger than age three. Croup may last from five to six days, depending on the severity of the infection. Croup can lead to other complications too, such as ear infection, respiratory distress or pneumonia.
Croup is usually caused by a viral infection, most often a parainfluenza virus. Your child may contract a virus by breathing infected respiratory droplets coughed or sneezed into the air. Virus particles in these droplets may also survive on toys and other surfaces.
Croup that is caused by a virus usually goes away on its own within one week. Bacterial croup may require antibiotic treatment. The duration of the antibiotic therapy will depend on the severity of the infection. Life-threatening complications aren’t common, but are dangerous when they do occur.
Use a cool-mist humidifier or run a hot shower to create a steam-filled bathroom where you can sit with your child for 10 minutes. Breathing in the mist will sometimes stop the severe coughing. In cooler weather, taking your child outside for a few minutes to breathe in the cool air may ease symptoms.
Lifestyle and home remedies
This is because adult airways are larger and are less susceptible to airway issues. However, croup can spread easily between children, so it’s best to keep them at home for at least three days or until they no longer have a fever.
Croup can occur any time of day, but it is usually worse at night because the body’s natural steroid levels fall at night, making the swelling of the voice box worse.
Croup doesn’t usually last for longer than a few days. However, occasionally children who have severe croup can develop an ear infection or pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs). If the infection is very severe, it may lead to your child not being able to breathe because the airway is too swollen.
Croup normally lasts three to five days and responds well to at-home treatments such as cool-mist vaporizers and fever reducers. Whooping cough is the result of a bacterial infection that attacks the lungs and breathing tubes.