Understanding croup, a covid-related condition that affects children

A growing number of children who test positive for Covid-19 has a cough that sounds like a bark, a characteristic symptom of croup.

The condition is characterized by inflammation of the upper airways (trachea and larynx) and mainly affects young children and infants. It can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection.

In addition to the “dog cough”, the child may also have difficulty breathing, hoarseness and wheezing when breathing.

Initially, the symptoms of croup are easily confused with those of the flu or the common cold. The child may have a runny nose and a low fever.


Credit: FluxFactory/istockCough with its characteristic sound is one of the symptoms of croup

Cases related to Omicron

The sharp increase in these cases in children is explained by the fact that the Ômicron variant, currently dominant in the world, affects the upper respiratory tract more than the previous variants, which mainly targeted the lungs.

Although this respiratory syndrome is usually mild, it can lead to more serious illnesses. According to a 2013 analysis of studies conducted in several countries, including Canada and the United States, an estimated one in 30,000 cases of croup is fatal.


Credit: LunarCat Images/istockCases of croup increased during the outbreak of the Ômicron variant

Croup symptoms usually last 3 to 7 days, but can exceed two weeks in the most severe cases, when the causes of croup are bacterial.

The diagnosis of croup is usually made by clinical evaluation, after identifying the cough that does not resemble a common cough caused, for example, by the flu or asthma.

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