Omicron in kids leading to a new but familiar illness: croup

Coronavirus

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(NBC News) — Covid-19’s omicron variant appears to be affecting children under age 5 in a new way: a harsh, barking cough known as croup.

While croup generally is not harmful, it can be frightening for parents already on edge about their babies and toddlers, too young for the Covid-19 vaccine, becoming infected with the virus.

Doctors say this is most likely occurring because it appears omicron tends to settle higher up in the respiratory tract, rather than deeper in the lungs.

“Little kids’ airways are so narrow that it takes far less inflammation to clog them,” said Dr. Buddy Creech, a pediatric infectious disease expert and director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

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