What You Need to Know About Croup in Adults

woman holding her throat

Story at-a-glance -

  • An adult can have croup when he or she breathes in infected droplets that were sneezed or coughed out by an infected person or through contact with a surface that contains infected droplets
  • The symptoms in adults are similar to those that typically show up in children. Just like croup in children, adult croup tends to worsen at night

While it commonly affects children between 6 months to 3 years old, there are instances wherein adults can get croup too, although these are rare.1

A viral infection triggered by the parainfluenza virus is responsible for croup cough in adults, but this disease may also be initiated by viruses like influenza type B, herpes simplex and cytomegalovirus, bacterial strains like Staphylococcus aureus and Haemophilus influenza or the Aspergillus fungus.2

An adult can have croup when he or she breathes in infected droplets that were sneezed or coughed out by an infected person,3 or through contact with a surface that contain infected droplets. According to MD Health, virus particles in these airborne droplets remain infectious even on a surface.4

Known Symptoms of Croup in Adults

Adult croup first manifests as a prodromal upper respiratory tract illness that usually lasts for two to four days.5 During this time, an infected patient already senses a respiratory infection in the upper airways, and exhibits a mild cough, low-grade fever and rhinorrhea (a runny nose6).7

The symptoms in adults are similar to those that typically show up in children. One of the hallmark signs is a cough that sounds like a barking seal that is mainly caused by swelling and inflammation around the vocal cords and the windpipe.8 Increased swelling can then lead to a hoarse voice, although the ability to swallow remains unaffected.9

Other croup symptoms in adults include dyspnea and stridor (noisy, high-pitched sounds made when breathing in or out10).11 Before this cough appears, however, the release of inflammatory factors inside the body triggers inflammation, erythema (a skin condition characterized by redness or rashes12) and exudate or pus.13,14

Just like croup in children, adult croup tends to worsen at night. These worsened croup symptoms can prompt an adult to consult a physician or go to the emergency room during the late hours of the evening.15 Even worse, a study published in the journal Case Reports in Critical Care highlighted that adult croup can indicate a more serious condition that may require a longer hospitalization period and more aggressive management or treatment plan.16

MORE ABOUT CROUP

Croup: Introduction

What Is Croup?

Is Croup Contagious?

Croup in Adults

Croup Symptoms

Croup Causes

Types of Croup

Croup Treatment

Essential Oils for Croup

Croup Prevention

Croup FAQ


< Previous

Is Croup Contagious?

Next >

Croup Symptoms

Click Here and be the first to comment on this article
Post your comment