Is Croup Contagious?

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  • Croup is a contagious illness, especially during its first few days. This is why you should be extra careful to prevent yourself and your loved ones from having this disease
  • Croup is at its most contagious period on the first few days of fever and illness, during the aforementioned incubation period and for about seven to 10 days after the first symptoms appear

Croup is a contagious illness, especially during its first few days.1 This is why you should be extra careful to prevent yourself and your loved ones from having this disease.  Keep reading to learn how croup is usually transmitted from one person to another.

How Is Croup Spread?

Croup has an incubation period of around 24 to 72 hours between exposure to the virus and development of initial symptoms.2 This disease can spread from an infected child to another child or adult. While croup-causing viruses may target a pregnant woman, they will not affect the fetus in any way.3

A person can get croup through direct contact (from one person to another)4 or from airborne infections that are either sneezed or coughed by sick children. Infected mucus that has been deposited on doors, furniture, toys and other objects by a person who is sick with croup can also be transferred to your or your child’s mouth when you touch the contaminated surfaces and inadvertently put your fingers in your mouth.5 Once a person is infected, the initial symptoms may start developing.

Take note that croup can be contagious even without a fever indicator of croup, and not exactly a transmission method. An infected person can spread the croup virus even if he or she looks healthy and doesn’t show signs of a fever.6

How Long Is Croup Contagious?

Croup is at its most contagious period on the first few days of fever and illness (including other symptoms), during the aforementioned incubation period and for about seven to 10 days after the first symptoms appear.7

Dr. Charles Woods notes that children or toddlers with croup are highly contagious for three days after the illness begins or until the initial croup fever is gone.8 Unfortunately, this infection can spread easily in a household, making croup a contagious disease that can affect adults, teens and older children in the area as well.9

The infection will prompt the newly infected individuals to develop a sore throat or a cough, although not necessarily the distinct barking cough and/or stridor (noisy and high-pitched breathing sound made when inhaling and exhaling10), which is more commonly seen in children with croup.

Infants and children may return to daycare or preschool once their temperatures return to normal and they generally feel better. While there may be a lingering cough that can last for another two weeks, this shouldn’t be a reason to keep the toddler or child at home.11

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


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