The croup is also called acute laryngotracheitis. What is croup from a medical point of view? It is a viral disease of the lower and upper respiratory tract. It is accompanied by difficulty breathing, especially when inhaling, swelling of the larynx, barking cough, the voice becomes hoarse. Croup is a disease inherent in children aged 6 months to 7 years, in adults, croup is extremely rare and is associated with diphtheria of the respiratory tract and is called diphtheria or true croup. To the question - "Is the croup contagious?" there is a definite answer - yes. Diphtheria or true croup without treatment can turn into croup of the lungs when the virus from the larynx descends lower, reaching the lungs. The outcome of such a disease is fatal.


The causes of croup are all sorts of viruses, but there is spasmodic croup, the cause of which is allergies. In autumn, the cause of croup can be the parainfluenza virus, in the spring and winter, the measles or influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus. The disease spreads through contact with contaminated objects and airborne droplets.

Croup symptoms

The symptoms of croup are identical to those that appear with a cold. The virus provokes edema of the laryngeal mucosa, it becomes narrow, it becomes difficult to breathe, a barking cough appears. These symptoms are worse at night, less frequently during the day.

The body temperature rises (not always), the voice becomes hoarse, wheezing appears when breathing, especially when inhaling, a cough with wheezing appears, intensifying at night. Breathing in children at the onset of the disease becomes fast and deep.

Grain classification

There is true and false croup. The latter is divided into viral croup and bacterial. The true croup passes sequentially from one stage to another. Stages of true croup: dysphonic or catarrhal, stenotic, asphyxial. True croup is more common in adults who have gotten into their bodies with a diphtheria bacillus.

Etiology of croup

The etiology (occurrence) of croup is infectious, viruses and bacteria cause this disease, rarely - a fungus. The infection enters the larynx through the nose when a person inhales contaminated air. True croup appears after infection with a diphtheria bacillus, false croup develops against the background of ARVI, flu, measles, smallpox.

Laryngeal stenosis stages

False croup is divided not only into bacterial and viral, but also according to the degree of laryngeal stenosis:

  • 1 degree - compensated stenosis (absence of shortness of breath, microcirculatory symptoms, aphonia (hoarse voice or its complete absence, respiratory exicosis);
  • 2 degree - subcompensated stenosis;
  • 3 degree - decompensated stenosis or uncompensated croup (presence of shortness of breath, laboratory symptoms of hypoxia, no expectoration, there are all the signs that are not present with compensated stenosis);
  • Grade 4 - croup in the terminal stage of stenosis.

The nature of the flow

By the nature of the course, the croup is divided into uncomplicated and complicated (when other diseases of the respiratory tract join the croup). False croup (acute laryngitis) is divided according to the type of disease in the respiratory tract into the following types of laryngitis:

  • edematous, when the throat is red and swollen. Where the folds of the tonsils are located, small gray ridges are visible, which narrow the lumen of the glottis;
  • hemorrhagic, when there are many hemorrhages on the mucous membrane of the throat in the region of the trachea and larynx, there are edematous ridges in the subglottic region, due to which the lumen of the larynx becomes very narrow, bloody crusts;
  • catarrhal-edematous - swelling of the throat accompanied by a hoarse voice and rhinitis;
  • ulcerative, when there is edema in the subglottic region, the lumen of the larynx is very narrow and a lot of pus accumulates in it.

Croup symptoms

In children

At the beginning, the disease manifests itself as a common cold, but after a few days the child's voice hoarse or even disappears, breathing becomes noisy, even with little physical exertion, the child develops shortness of breath. At night, the baby gets worse, a barking cough appears, the child cannot clear his throat, so he cannot fall asleep.

During a cough, a whistle is characteristic, when the child wants to draw air into the lungs, which passes with difficulty, since the inflamed channels of the larynx and trachea are narrowed. Such a whistle is called an inspiratory stridor. Difficulty with coughing, tightens the abdominal muscles, which then hurt, as after a long workout.

In adults

In adults, as mentioned above, croup is rare and has a diphtheria etymology. False croup is extremely rare and has the same symptoms as in children. But with true croup, diphtheria, the patient's body temperature rises to 38.5 degrees, the mucous membrane of the pharynx turns red, plaque islands appear on it - smooth and grayish-white. This plaque is hardly removed with a spatula or a teaspoon, and if you still succeed in doing this, a bleeding wound will form in their place. The tonsils are edematous, so they practically close with each other.

False croup in children

Often occurs against the background of acute respiratory infections and other colds, is characterized by the appearance of a hoarse voice in the child, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing. With false croup, the child's larynx and trachea become inflamed and swollen. A barking cough occurs. Doctor's help is needed already in the initial stages of the disease.


False croup is diagnosed on the basis of examination of the larynx, listening to the bronchi and lungs. Diphtheria croup is diagnosed with a tonsil scraping test. Laboratory and endoscopic methods for diagnosing false and true croup are considered the most effective.

Croup treatment

If you suspect croup based on the symptoms described above, adults and children should definitely seek the help of a doctor to prescribe adequate treatment. Timely and competent help with croup will be able to cure any type of this disease in a short time with the least consequences for the body.

Qualified, experienced doctors of the K + 31 Clinic Medical Center, on the basis of a comprehensive examination of the patient, laboratory research of his analyzes, will make the correct diagnosis and prescribe the correct treatment, following which both children and adults will get rid of this disease in a short time.

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