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Doctor insights on: Is Croup Cough Contagious To Adults

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Should a 2 month old baby be sent to daycare with croup cough? Is it contagious?

Should a 2 month old baby be sent to daycare with croup cough? Is it contagious?

Confusing question: In more than 3 decades of caring for kids, I have never labeled a 2 month old as having the croup.Cough, maybe, and usually from environmental irritants, and not contagious, but never croup. Any crouping at that age would indicate an airway abnormality that deserves evaluation (laryngomalacia). ...Read more

Dr. Sue Ferranti
3,596 Doctors shared insights

Cough (Definition)

The cough reflex is a protective mechanism that uses muscles in your throat and chest to expel mucous and saliva that may contain pathogens that would otherwise possibly be inhaled via aerosol or to expel pathogens infecting the throat and respiratory system. Cough benefits the host by reducing load and benefits the pathogen which may then spread via aerosol. ...Read more


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How long is croup contagious? My son drank out nieces cup who had it last wk. Her fever is gone and she's back at school. Still has a cough. Worry?

How long is croup contagious? My son drank out nieces cup who had it last wk. Her fever is gone and she's back at school. Still has a cough. Worry?

Unlikely...: Though one may contract a virus by touching a contaminated surface and then touching the eyes, nose or mouth, the timing of your niece's illness makes it unlikely. Croup is usually caused by a virus infection, most often a parainfluenza virus. After the third day of symptoms, a patient will begin to clinically improve. The cough may in itself represent a post-viral cough that may persist for weeks. ...Read more

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Is croup contagious to an adult?

Is croup contagious to an adult?

Yes: Adults can become infected with same virus that caused their child’s croup. However, adults and older children have larger airways, and the illness is usually mild and can seem more like cold. ...Read more

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Is croup contagious to adults? My niece has it she lives upstairs

Is croup contagious to adults? My niece has it she lives upstairs

Yes: Croup is usually triggered by one of several upper respiratory viruses that are all contageous. However, the croup like illness is rather age specific, occuring most fro age 6 m to 6 yr. Older kids or adults tend to have cold like symptoms or laryngitis if they get the germ. If a person has been infected by that virus strain before they would be immune. ...Read more

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Is croup contagious to adults? My niece has it she lives upstairs and she hugged me hours before she got a fever. Am I at risk

Is croup contagious to adults? My niece has it she lives upstairs and she hugged me hours before she got a fever. Am I at risk

Yes and no: Croup is triggered by several common respiratory viruses that can infect anyone at any age that is not immune. However, the response of each patient is different. Croup is a pattern that involves the rubbery and small airways of kids & primarily emerges in those 6m to 6yr. Older kids and adults tend to have a cold/cough or laryngitis with the same germ. If you had that strain as a kid you are immune ...Read more

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How long is parainfluenza / croup contagious?

At least a week: Most viruses follow the same basic pattern. Viral numbers expand exponentially until our immune systems can generate an effective response (fever is the first attempt). Antibody response to viruses takes 3-5 days and peak infectivity is usually the first week. We continue to shed virus for 1-2 weeks after. Respiratory viruses are spread by droplets which can travel up to 4 feet through the air. ...Read more

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How contagious is croup?

How contagious is croup?

LIke a common cold: Croup is caused by a virus and is contagious. To put it in perspective, it is as contagious as a common cold. Good hand washing with soap and water or with hand-gel will decrease the risk of transmission. ...Read more

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I had gotten Croup as a teen and I now get it every year in the fall im 24, is it still contagious when I have it? And will it ever go away?

I had gotten Croup as a teen and I now get it every year in the fall im 24, is it still contagious when I have it? And will it ever go away?

Croup: Not sure why you get "croup" but if you are running fevers with it consider yourself contagious. And since croup is caused by a virus you could spread it just as if you had a cold and could. ...Read more

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How long is croup contagious after steroid?

How long is croup contagious after steroid?

No: Steroid administration does not affect the transmission of croup. Steroids are administered to reduce difficulty breathing associated with croup. They reduce airway swelling caused by edema. ...Read more

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My son started having symptoms of croup 48 hours ago. He was diagnosed by a Dr. Today. His fever is gone now. How much longer will he be contagious?

My son started having symptoms of croup 48 hours ago. He was diagnosed by a Dr. Today. His fever is gone now. How much longer will he be contagious?

Shedding for awhile: Viral shedding, or period of contagiousness, for these types of viruses can last weeks, and are shed through the upper respiratory structures. However, since most of the shedding occurs during the time that the person is feeling very sick and febrile, let your son's behavior and overall appearance be your guide. Most daycares and schools require a 24 hour fever free period (without medications). ...Read more

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How contagious is croup? My 2 yr old and 4 mo old were around child yesterday who was diagnosed last night. What should I look out for?

How contagious is croup? My 2 yr old and 4 mo old were around child yesterday who was diagnosed last night. What should I look out for?

Croup: Look for barking cough, hoarseness and noisy breathing called stridor. Symptoms may be mild to moderate and get worse at night. It is contagious and caused by a virus and is self limiting and can be treated with steroids and in severe cases Epinephrine as well, children with sever cruip may need hospitalisation. ...Read more

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Daughter on methotrexate and my son has bronchitis and croup. Dr says he is contagious so should I find someone to keep my daughter overnight?

Daughter on methotrexate and my son has bronchitis and croup. Dr says he is contagious so should I find someone to keep my daughter overnight?

Viral infection: Difficult to answer and very complicated. She has probably already been exposed. Methotrexate effects primarily neutophils which are seldom involved in fighting viral infections, which cause bronchitis and croup, unless this is pertussis (whooping cough). ...Read more

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5 y/o being treated for croup, cough is getting worse- but more bronchitis than croup. Is this to be expected? Croup 3X this year.

5 y/o being treated for croup, cough is getting worse- but more bronchitis than croup. Is this to be expected? Croup 3X this year.

Mgt/ workup: Croup may recur and is caused by a number of viruses. I would suggest seeing your pediatric lung specialist. In addition, airway structural changes, foreign body aspiration and persistent inflammation of the airway may be related to the symptoms. A virtual appointment is also available. Making a recording of the sound and noting when it is worse, will help in the diagnosis. ...Read more

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What is the difference between croup and a regular cough?

What is the difference between croup and a regular cough?

Characteristic cough: Croup is typically caused by a number of viruses and has a characteristic barky cough. The quality of the cough is similar to a seal barking. ...Read more

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Help my son's cough won't go away! Is croup. Middle of night?

Help my son's cough won't go away! Is croup. Middle of night?

Croup: Croup is an acute infection, not chronic. Croup can be severe the first 2-3 days then slowly gets better. Use a humidifier, mist up the bathroom, take your child out in the cold air. You said it won't go away, how long has he had it? Your child may have something else. Schedule an appointment with your child's doctor. ...Read more

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Son was diagnosed with croup (tentatively). His cough is mostly gone after only 3 1/2 days. Is this normal for croup?

Son was diagnosed with croup (tentatively). His cough is mostly gone after only 3 1/2 days. Is this normal for croup?

Can be: Most episodes of croup are viral, lasting several days up to as long as 2 weeks. The 1st 2-3 days are usually the worst. ...Read more

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What cough medicine should I give my son for croup?

What cough medicine should I give my son for croup?

See below:: The current cornerstones of treatment in the urgent care clinics or emergency departments are corticosteroids and nebulized epinephrine; steroids have proven beneficial in severe, moderate, and even mild croup. In the straightforward cases of croup, antibiotics are not prescribed, as the primary cause is viral. Of note: little evidence supports the clinical efficacy of cool mist. ...Read more

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What cough medicine is good for a child with croup?

What cough medicine is good for a child with croup?

None: Cough medicine is not recommended in general for young children and not indicated for classic croup. If the child has concerning croup symptoms they should be seen by physician as they may require other medications such as steroids. Cool air and warm moist air can both also decrease symptoms. ...Read more

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My child has asthma & the croup cough, what do I do?

My child has asthma & the croup cough, what do I do?

See doctor: You will need to see your doctor since this may be a signal that his asthma is getting worse. ...Read more

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Is it safe to give cough meds for cough due to croup?

I never do: Most of these contain antihistamines that will thicken their mucus, which is not what a croup kid needs. A simple guaifenesin only product might help loosen the mucus. For most of these kids I just try to keep them hydrated and occasionally use an oral steroid for the worst cases. ...Read more

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How do you treat a croup cough in a six month old baby?

How do you treat a croup cough in a six month old baby?

If mild: Croup is usually mild illness managed at home. Help with cool m​ist, placing child near vaporizerI if you do not have a cool mist vaporizer, even a simple humidifier in child’s bedroom may be helpful. Seek ER if cool mist not clearing up stridor in 15 minutes, repeated episodes of stridor or trouble breathing child’s chest or stomach retracting, bluish lips, lethargy, drooling, neck pain, stiffness ...Read more

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Could croup present without cough but with a stridor lasting three weeks?

Could croup present without cough but with a stridor lasting three weeks?

Unlikely: Croup has a very characteristic cough. And, it normally lasts about 5 days. Stridor is concerning for an airway abnormality and should be evaluated. ...Read more

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Anyone heard of a long lasting fever that comes and goes w/ croup type cough?

Anyone heard of a long lasting fever that comes and goes w/ croup type cough?

See a doctor: Cough and fever is not normal and may suggest serious issues which rapid diagnosis and management may resolve effectively. Do not wait, but see somebody asap. ...Read more

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2 year old with croup cough should I take him outside at 39 degrees!? Is cold air beneficial!?

2 year old with croup cough should I take him outside at 39 degrees!? Is cold air beneficial!?

Croup: For many years we have recommended cool mist humidification for croup. If the stridor (the deep wheeze on breathing in) gets worse, we will suggest taking the child outside to breathe in the cool night air while being wrapped in a warm blanket. If not effective then I suggest going into the bathroom and steaming the child. @ tsp of honey can be soothing to the throat and aid in settling the cough ...Read more

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I always get croup cough a week before I get a virus or cold! It's like my own personal alarm! Why is this???

I always get croup cough a week before I get a virus or cold! It's like my own personal alarm! Why is this???

Needs evaluation: In most cases it is undiagnosed asthma or reactive airway disease. You may want to see a pediatric allergist or pulmonary specialist ...Read more

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I had a cold then cough has stuck with me in the past 2 months. Slight mucus recovering smoker. Is it the croup?

I had a cold then cough has stuck with me in the past 2 months. Slight mucus recovering smoker. Is it the croup?

Not likely: Croup is mainly a disease of babies and small children, and has a very distinctive cough. Depending on when you stopped smoking, the lungs take many months to recover, and actually in smokers cough INCREASES with MORE sputum shortly after stopping and continues for several months sometimes as the body recovers and tries to clean the lungs out from all the accumulated crud in there. Congrats! ...Read more

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My son has a croup cough what should I do to help him? He also sounds horse and coughs whenever he does a little to much.

My son has a croup cough what should I do to help him? He also sounds horse and coughs whenever he does a little to much.

There: There are a number of different things you can do. Most important is to keep the child hydrated. If the child gets into a coughing fit, run your shower on hot, getting the bathroom nice and steamy. A lot of times, the mist helps settle down the cough mechanism in the throat.

Antibiotics won't help this. If it persists, seek an appointment with your provider. ...Read more

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My 3 y/o was treated for croup 10/11/12. Cough since then, fever started yesterday. Hr went from 112 to at least 140 overnight.?

My 3 y/o was treated for croup 10/11/12. Cough since then, fever started yesterday. Hr went from 112 to at least 140 overnight.?

Likely unrelated: Depending on when this question was asked, current symptoms are likely not related to october's croup. Most likely a viral pneumonia, but visiting your pediatrician is recommended. ...Read more

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I have bronchitis and croup but I finished medicine for bronchitis. I still have a barky cough but why? I also feel like coughing on exhale

I have bronchitis and croup but I finished medicine for bronchitis. I still have a barky cough but why? I also feel like coughing on exhale

Cough persists: Even after killing the germs associated with your infection you will have some disturbance in the mucous flow in your lungs. This could last a month. Persistence of a cough that gradually improves is expected. ...Read more

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Hi my daughter is 4 months and has had croup but now it's just a cough. Tonight it seems to be bothering her and keeping her up. Will a vaporizer help?

Hi my daughter is 4 months and has had croup but now it's just a cough. Tonight it seems to be bothering her and keeping her up. Will a vaporizer help?

Workup/Mgt: If her barky cough is caused by a virus, in most cases this will resolve within 10 days. If the symptoms persist or recur, I would suggest an imaging study and discussing with your physician. A cool mist vaporizer may help alleviate the cough. Babies breathe thru their noses, and using infant nasal saline drops may also help. ...Read more

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My 3yo son has what I think is croup. Horrible barking cough that will not let up day or night. I have tried everything and not much relief. Plz advise?

My 3yo son has what I think is croup. Horrible barking cough that will not let up day or night. I have tried everything and not much relief. Plz advise?

Probably croup: It can be managed at home unless he starts with distressed breathing. That means seeing muscles in neck moving or abdomen rocking. It will sound bad. It is worse at night and gets progressively worse and peaks on third day then improves. At night bundle up and go out in cold to help the breathing and cough. Usually sound worse than child feels. Can have a high temp too. ...Read more

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What is the difference between croup and pertussis cough?

What is the difference between croup and pertussis cough?

Cough types: In general, the cough of croup is usually worse at night, and resembles the bark of a seal or dog. Pertussis coughs are generally repetitive initially (frequently causing gagging and vomiting), and later by a characteristic 'whoop' at the end of a coughing episode. Croup is scary but not dangerous as pertussis is in small children. ...Read more

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My 6 month old has croup cough I can hear it also while he's a sleep what do I do as it has just started in the middle of the night and it's hot?

My 6 month old has croup cough I can hear it also while he's a sleep what do I do as it has just started in the middle of the night and it's hot?

CROUP: Take him to the bath room, open the hot shower and let him breath steam. It is summer in australia now, croup is seen more in the winter. If it is hot, can use cool mist humidifier, or can use a vicks' vaporizer. Make sure he is well hydrated. If not comfortable, make a trip to the er. ...Read more

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My daughter was sent home last night with croup. Her cough amd breathing have gotten worse and her temp keeps coming back. Also she isn't wetting diape?

My daughter was sent home last night with croup. Her cough amd breathing have gotten worse and her temp keeps coming back. Also she isn't wetting diape?

Resp. Distress: Sounds like dehydration with respiratory difficulty. Babies tend to have decreased oral intake when they can't breathe. Also fevers add to dehydration. You need to take her to er for evaluation and hydration, now. ...Read more

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My 16 month old has the croup cough again...He had it two weeks ago and ended up getting a shot of steroids. Is there anything I can do to help with the cough?

My 16 month old has the croup cough again...He had it two weeks ago and ended up getting a shot of steroids. Is there anything I can do to help with the cough?

Cool wet air: Breathing in cool moist air is usually helpful. You can sit in the bathroom with the shower on to fill the room with mist, or you can run a humidifier. In a pinch you can even have him breathe air from an open freezer door. Drinking liquids helps and you could also try some Ibuprofen to try to reduce the laryngeal swelling that causes the noisy cough. Good luck. ...Read more

Dr. Mark Diamond
261 Doctors shared insights

Croup (Definition)

A description of variety on upper respiratory tract condition in children, including laryngitis, laryngotracheitis, laryngotracheobronchitis, bacterial ...Read more


Contagious (Definition)

One is able to transmit an infection to another by ...Read more