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What are a child's risk factors for developing croup?

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A child's risk factors for developing croup include a young age, exposure to the croup virus and physical triggers like allergic reactions and esophageal reflux. Croup generally presents as either viral or spasmodic, but can also occur in connection with other underlying conditions. Most typically, however, it spreads as a virus, which, like other respiratory illnesses, happens when one touches a contaminated surface, then touches the nose, eyes and/or mouth.

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Children may contract croup year-round, but like many illnesses, the disease spreads frequently in the fall and winter months, as noted by the American Academy of Pediatrics. It also occurs most frequently in children between the ages of six months and three years ,rather than in those who are older, as younger children have smaller windpipes, which swell and prohibit sufficient breathing.

Croup follows a typical course of progression, starting as an infection in the nasal membranes, then spreading to the vocal chords and trachea, according to the Mayo Clinic. Although croup is classified as a contagious disease, only a small number of children exposed to the virus end up developing croup.

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