An infection of the trachea is called as tracheitis. The trachea is the windpipe and an inflammation of the trachea can lead to airway obstruction.
The following article will discuss some of the facts related to tracheitis.
What is Tracheitis?
The bacterial infection of the soft tissues of the trachea is called as tracheitis. The trachea is a part of the lower respiratory tract. The trachea is one of the most important part of the body’s respiratory system. It branches out into tubes called as the bronchi and enters the lungs. Thus, helping in directing the air directly to the lungs. It also helps in transportation of carbon dioxide from the lungs out of the body during exhalation.
Bacterial tracheitis is very common in children. It is a rare condition and more common boys. Even though this is a rare condition, it requires immediate medical attention or it could prove to be a fatal condition.
What Are the Symptoms of Tracheitis?
Tracheitis usually leads to upper respiratory infection. Thus, the symptoms such as runny nose, cough and low-grade fever often accompany tracheitis.
Other symptoms include:
- Deep cough or barking croup cough
- Crowing sound during inhalation
- Chest pain
- Labored breathing
- Nasal flaring
- Cyanosis, due to lack of oxygen
In about two to five days, the symptoms progress to airway obstruction. If one hears the child developing a high-pitched sound when breathing, it indicates airway obstruction. Do not waste any time and rush the child to a hospital emergency center immediately.
Causes of Tracheitis
The most common cause of bacterial tracheitis is Staphylococcus aureus infection. Other organisms that can lead to tracheitis include Streptococcus pneumonia, Haemophilus influenza, etc. Children have a smaller trachea and it easily suffers from obstruction due to swelling. Thus, it is more common in children than adults.
Diagnosis of Tracheitis
The child will be physically examined and the sound of lungs and breathing will be checked for any type of respiratory distress. Other tests conducted include:
- Oxymetry to check for blood oxygen levels
- Nasopharyngeal culture to check for causative agent
- Tracheal culture to check for infection
- X-ray of the trachea
- Direct laryngoscopy
Treatment for Tracheitis
The treatment aims to clear the airway and getting rid of the infection. In some cases, intubation is carried out. It is connected to the ventilator to help improve the lung function. The patient is admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and constantly monitored. Antibiotics are given through intravenous (IV) line.
The prognosis depends on how soon the patient is given treatment. As children have a small tube, it does not take long for it to swell and lead to airway obstruction. If left untreated, it could lead to toxic shock syndrome, fever, organ failure, etc. In severe conditions, it can also cause respiratory arrest and death. Thus, in the case of observing any of the above symptoms, seek medical advice immediately.
Written by: www.healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: February 22, 2016