Yes, there appears to be. Recent studies have shown that the omicron variant has caused young children to develop symptoms of croup, such as a cough that sounds like a seal or dog bark.

To learn more about croup and its connection to the omicron variant, read on as our AFC Urgent Care Indian Trail team explains below!

What Is Croup?

Croup is a respiratory infection that affects children between the ages of 3 months and 5 years of age. Croup typically lasts between three and five days, and it’s most common during the current time of year.

Croup causes swelling and inflammation of the voice box (larynx) and windpipe (trachea), which can result in noisy, difficult breathing and a loud, “barking” cough that sounds like a seal pup or a dog. While croup’s symptoms can sound scary, it’s highly treatable and relatively harmless infection. We’ve listed its common symptoms 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 Omicron?

The omicron variant appears to settle higher up in a child’s respiratory tract, which can lead to swelling and inflammation, thus causing croup.

Even though experts are seeing that omicron cases lead to croup-like symptoms, they’re not reporting that the effects or symptoms are any more severe than normal. If your child has croup—whether or not it is due to the omicron variant—symptoms should clear up within at least five days. If they don’t, or if your child experiences any of the symptoms we’ve listed below, visit our AFC center for further treatment.

When to Seek Medical Treatment

  • Makes noisy, high-pitched breathing sounds both when inhaling and exhaling
  • Makes high-pitched breathing sounds when not crying or agitated
  • Begins drooling or has difficulty swallowing
  • Breathes at a faster rate than usual
  • Struggles to breathe
  • Develops blue or grayish skin around the nose, mouth or fingernails (cyanosis)

Do you have further questions or concerns about croup? If so, don’t hesitate to reach out to our AFC teamtoday, and we can provide the answers you’re looking for!