Croup 101 - Is It Contagious?

Croup 101 - Is It Contagious?

Posted by Hayley Thomas on 31st Aug 2023

As parents, it's crucial to be informed about common childhood illnesses to ensure the well-being of your little ones. One such condition that can cause concern is croup, a respiratory illness that primarily affects young children.

Baby Croup Symptoms, Hush Vaporiser can relieve symptoms

What is Croup?

Croup usually begins like a normal cold, as a result of a virus. Croup, medically known as laryngotracheobronchitis, is the narrowing of the upper airway in response to a viral infection. 

The virus causes the larynx (voice box), trachea (windpipe) and bronchi (the large airways in the lungs) to swell which makes it harder for your child to breathe and can cause a barking cough (sounds like a seal).

Croup Narrows the trachea, croup relieve symptoms with hush vaporiser

Symptoms of Croup

1. Barking Cough: The hallmark symptom of croup is a harsh, barking cough that sounds like a seal's bark.

2. Hoarseness: Children with croup may develop a hoarse or raspy voice due to the swelling of the vocal cords.

3. Stridor: Stridor refers to a high-pitched, wheezing sound that occurs during inhalation, indicating narrowed airways.

4. Difficulty Breathing: In some cases, the swelling in the airways can lead to breathing difficulties, especially during periods of increased activity or agitation.

5. Fever: A mild fever might accompany croup, but it is usually not very high.

Croup Symptoms Start as a Normal Cold. Croup Narrows the Airways

Is Croup Contagious?

Technically, NO. Croup is the way that person’s body has responded to the virus.

The underlying virus that has caused the croup IS CONTAGIOUS and can be spread from person to person.

For example, if every single child in 3 year old childcare group was to become unwell with the same respiratory viral infection, only one or two kids might develop croup.

Some children are ‘croupy kids’, ie when they catch a respiratory viral infection they develop croup.

Croup is caused by viruses, typically parainfluenza virus, and sometimes influenza virus or respiratory syncytial virus. 

Duration of Croup

Croup symptoms often peak on the second or third night of illness and can last for around 3 to 5 days. However, the barking cough might linger for a week or more after the initial symptoms have improved. Keep in mind that individual cases may vary, and seeking medical advice is recommended if the symptoms are worsening.

Hush Vaporiser Can Relieve Croup Symptoms by Humidifying the Air

Relieving Croup Symptoms

1. Moist Air: Breathing in moist air can help alleviate the swelling in the airways. Run a humidifier or cool mist vaporiser in the child's room, like Hush 8-in-1 Ultrasonic Vaporiser, pictured above.

2. Steam Blast, Then Cold Air: Breathing in steam can help alleviate upper respiratory issues and promote better breathing. Shut the door to the bathroom and turn the hot water on in your shower. Sit or stand outside of the shower while it runs and breathe in the steam for 10 minutes to help reduce croup symptoms. 

Follow the steam treatment with a session of cold air. Open the freezer and breathe the cold air for a few minutes, or sit outside in cold (but not windy) area, or take a ride in the car with the windows down, for a blast of fresh, cool air.

3. Hydration: Ensure your child drinks plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and keep the airways moist.

4. Elevating Head: Keeping the child's head elevated during sleep can make breathing easier.

5. Essential Oils: Essential oils are a natural form of croup treatment that can help open up the airways and reduce coughing. Ensure the label says "100% Pure" and avoid "Fragrance Oils or Essence". Essential oils are generally safe to use from 3 months+.

Essential oils can be mixed with water in the Hush Cool mist Vaporiser or mixed with body lotion for topical application to the chest.  The most effective plant based ingredients are Tea Tree, Lemon, Lavender and Scotch Pine. Our Baby Breathe Organic Blend contains Lemon, Cedarwood, Scotch Pine, Sweet Marjoram, Tea Tree and Lemongrass.

6. Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help reduce fever and discomfort. Consult a doctor before administering any medication.

7. Medical Attention: If your child's breathing becomes severely compromised, seek immediate medical attention. In some cases, healthcare providers might prescribe medications like steroids to reduce airway inflammation.

Wheezing Seal Cough is a Common Symptom of Croup, Babies 6 months - 3 years are most likely to get croup

Age Group at Risk

Children between the ages of 6 months and 4 years are most susceptible to croup due to the size of their airways and developing immune systems. However, older children can also contract croup, although it's generally less severe in these cases.

Be Prepared

Croup can be a distressing experience for both parents and children, but armed with knowledge about the symptoms, contagious nature, duration, and management strategies, you can help your child recover more comfortably. 

Remember that each child's response to croup can vary, so always consult a healthcare professional if you have concerns about your child's health. With proper care and health products on hand, most cases of croup can be managed effectively, allowing your child to return to their cheerful self in no time.

Nasal Aspirator Snotty Boss, Breathe Balm, Hush Vaporiser Can Help Baby Breathe Easier

Disclaimer: Our products are offered for sale with general use guidelines provided by the manufacturer. Should any sensitivity to our products occur, please discontinue use.

We are not doctors or healthcare professionals or aromatherapists. Our products and information are not intended to diagnose, treat, and/or take the place of medical treatment prescribed by a doctor or medical professional.

Resources: , Dept of Health and Aged Care, ABC News,, Immunisation Foundation of Australia

* Essential oil is not recommended for babies under 3 months.