Laryngitis in Children

The most common cause of laryngitis are viruses that populate the larynx mucosa, usually causing to swelling (edema), of vocal cords and further narrowing the diameter of the larynx. Less common, but far more dangerous cause of is the bacteria that can lead to very severe form of laryngitis. Thanks to vaccines against the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae these forms of laryngitis are extremely rare.

Because of swelling (edema), of vocal cords child is hoarse, and because there is a previously mentioned narrowing characteristic vibratory sound called stride occurs..
Stridor is actually flicker (vibrating) of narrowed larynx that occurs when pressured air passes to the trachea and further into the lungs. It can be heard when breathing in air, but it is most dramatic when the child coughs.

How to help a child who has laryngitis?

Laryngitis in Children

Doctor’s visits are often necessary.

If your child does not have a high body temperature, he or she in spite of hoarse coughing and stridor  is in the good condition, if the child  is not blue around the lips, keep in mind that this is almost certainly a viral laryngitis, a relatively harmless disease in spite of dramatic expression. Although it sounds strange, parents should try the following: hot water is good, steam up your bathroom to the extent that you can not see anything. Then bring the child in to inhale moist, warm air. After a minute or two, bring the child out and hold it near an open window to inhale cold outside air for a few times. The attack passes almost immediately in the majority of children. “The trick” is in the abrupt change of the temperature and humidity, so the clenched larynx releases itself. After this the child is often calmed, often continues to sleep or feels better. Now you have the time to slowly contact the pediatrician who will decide on further laryngitis treatment.

When should you see doctor as soon as possible?

A rare but very dangerous inflammation of the larynx is the consequence of infection by bacteria (Haemophilus influenzae), which quickly multiplies in the throat and leads to dramatic swelling of  exactly that part which closes the larynx during swallowing (epiglottis). Swollen epiglottis narrows the already small space for air passage, so this causes child to choke. Part of bacteria and bacterial products penetrate the bloodstream and cause very high fever.

You need a doctor immediately if:

• A child has fever (over 39 degrees). If it happens that both stridor and fever occur almost simultaneously, you should not wait. It is important to determine whether this is a dangerous form of the aforementioned bacterial inflammation of the larynx (epigotitis) requiring immediate antibiotic therapy of  “strong” antibiotics which are only given through a veins accelerate its effect
• The child begins to turn blue around the lips and looks very bad. This is a sure sign that not enough oxygen reaches the child’s body, and he or she needs urgent treatment.
• The child is breathing hard and fast. This torment while breathing (which is professionally called dyspnea) can be seen very nicely when you take the child clothes off. Intercostal spaces are drawn in (retracted in), as well as the dent below the chin (in the middle of upper chest). This is a consequence of the enormous effort invested by muscles involved in the breathing to expel air through the narrowed part of the airway.