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Croup


Overview :

At one time, the term croup was primarily associated with diphtheria, a life-threatening respiratory infection. Owing to widespread vaccinations, diphtheria has become rare in the United States, and croup currently refers to a mild viral infection of the larynx. Croup is also known as laryngotracheitis, a medical term that describes the inflammation of the trachea (windpipe) and larynx.

Parainfluenza viruses are the typical root cause of the infection, but influenza (flu) and cold viruses may sometimes be responsible. All of these viruses are highly contagious and easily transmitted between individuals via sneezing and coughing. Children between the ages of three months and six years are usually affected, with the greatest incidence at one to two years of age. Croup can occur at any time of the year, but it is most typical during early autumn and winter. The characteristic harsh barking of a croupy cough can be very distressing, but it rarely indicates a serious problem. Most children with croup can be treated very effectively at home; however, 1-5% may require medical treatment.

Croup may sometimes be confused with more serious conditions, such as epiglottitis or bacterial tracheitis. These ailments arise from bacterial infection and must receive medical treatment.




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