Wondering whether there’s a connection between this common childhood illness and COVID-19? Recent studies have shown that young children who test positive for COVID-19 experience symptoms of croup, too.

To learn more about croup, COVID-19 and the omicron variant, keep reading as our AFC Urgent Care TN team shares some helpful info below!

What Is Croup?

Croup is a respiratory infection that is typically caused by a virus. It affects children between the ages of 3 months and 5 years, and it causes swelling of the airways and vocal cords, which leads to difficulty breathing and a loud cough that sounds like a high-pitched seal or dog bark.

Since croup is most often caused by a virus, it’s contagious. It can be spread for three days after diagnosis or until a fever, if it is a symptom, subsides. We’ve listed the symptoms you should be on the lookout for below.

Common Croup Symptoms

  • A runny, stuffy nose
  • A cough that turns into a “seal’s bark”
  • Laryngitis
  • Fever
  • A whistling sound when breathing, which is often referred to as “stridor”

How Is Croup Connected to COVID-19?

Recent studies have shown that the omicron variant appears to settle higher up in a child’s respiratory tract, which can lead to swelling and inflammation, thus causing croup.

While croup is treatable and relatively harmless—even if it’s connected to the omicron variant— it’s still painful for both child and parent to experience. If your child does get croup this winter, we’ve listed some things you can do at home to help him or her feel better.

Ways to Treat Croup at Home

  • Hold your child in a comfortable upright position. Sitting upright may make breathing easier.
  • Make sure your child is staying hydrated. Water can work to flush out all types of infections, including croup.
  • Encourage rest. Sleep can help your child fight the infection.
  • Try a fever reducer. If your child has a fever, OTC medications like acetaminophen can help.
  • Skip the cold medications. OTC cold medicines aren’t recommended for children of any age, and they can be harmful in children less than 2 years of age. Plus, they won’t help croup.

Frequent handwashing and avoiding people who are sick are two of the best prevention tactics for croup and other winter illnesses! If you do begin to feel under the weather, however, don’t hesitate to visit one of our AFC Urgent Care TN centers today.