What Is Laryngitis And What Are The Symptoms?
How To Recognize Laryngitis In Children?
Laryngitis is one of the diseases that parents are afraid of because its symptoms can be frightening. Fortunately, the disease is usually not dangerous for the child. Nevertheless, it pays to be able to prevent it or quickly alleviate the symptoms. Laryngitis is more common in the colder period due to the increased number of infections circulating among children and their immune systems tend to be weaker.
What Is Laryngitis?
Laryngitis is a common childhood disease caused by an infection such as cold or flu, that occurs most often among toddlers and preschool children. As a child grows, the anatomical proportions of their breathing tube also changes, and as a result, even with Laryngitis, there is less danger that they will have difficulty breathing.
In other words: an older child or adult can get the disease, but it will only show itself as a mild infection of the upper respiratory tract, which is sometimes accompanied by hoarseness. It is not possible to say who is most at risk of Laryngitis - some children avoid it completely, others catch it once, at most twice in a few years, while some suffer from it every month. What is certain however, is that allergy sufferers are more at risk because their mucous membranes respond to various external stimuli by swelling.
The word Laryngitis comes from the Latin word larynx. The larynx is a tube which air flows through from the nose or mouth further into the bronchi and lungs. The entrance to the larynx is protected by a flap, which is closed when swallowing food and fluids, thus preventing food from being inhaled. There are also vocal cords near the larynx, which use their vibration as air passes to provide us with a voice and make sounds. The functions of the larynx are therefore voice production, breathing, coughing and swallowing. When inflamed, these functions can be weakened and impaired.
8 Easy tips which will help you to ease the children´s cough. Learn more, here.
Symptoms Of Laryngitis
The symptoms are usually obvious - mainly a barking cough accompanied by wheezing, usually without fever, but they may be different for each child. The cough is often relatively easy to stop by giving the child a drink, letting cold air into the room or taking them outside for a while. If it‘s warm outside, it is possible to sit the child in front of an open freezer. It’s also a good idea to humidify the air, especially if the child has allergies. In any case, it‘s good practice to keep the temperature in the bedroom as low as possible all year round, and if possible it should not exceed eighteen degrees, although in summer this is often not possible.
The Disease Can Usually Be Managed In Peace At Home
Fortunately, in the vast majority of cases, a Laryngitis attack can be managed easily at home, although the onset of the disease often looks dramatic and parents may be worried by the barking cough. The disease usually comes on at night, even if the child was showing no symptoms throughout the evening. Alternatively, Laryngitis can be combined with rhinitis or another bacterial respiratory disease. In most cases of Laryngitis - despite ugly hoarseness and a barking cough - the child is not in any danger. It is definitely a good idea to try to calm the child down, because a frightened crying usually worsens the course of the disease.
What If The Child’s Symptoms Are Bad?
In connection with Laryngitis, doctors use the term inspirational stridor, which refers to the very strenuous breathing in which the child growls, especially when inhaling. If, despite the parents' efforts, the child's condition worsens, it is a good idea to give them a corticoid suppository or a tablet that will reduce the swelling of the mucous membranes. It can be prescribed to parents by a pediatrician on request, but corticosteroids should be handled with care and not given unnecessarily at the first cough.
In exceptional circumstances, adrenaline or other corticoids may also be required - if the child's condition worsens, it is advisable to go to A and E or call an ambulance. There is no point in administering cough medicines, as they do not work in the case of Laryngitis. However, in the following days and especially during night time, the child may take antihistamines (they exist in drops for the youngest children), which reduce the risk of swelling of the mucous membranes and the return of a Laryngitis.
How To Prevent Laryngitis
As it is caused by infection, there is no clear method on how to avoid the disease. However, there are a few measures that reduce the risk posed by Laryngitis. If you want to avoid wheezing, follow the following advice:
- Ventilate regularly.
- Humidify the air as best you can. An air purifier with a humidifier is best.
- Never smoke in the presence of children.
- Give the child fresh air as much as possible.
- Keep the room clean, get rid of dust and the things it most often sticks to, such as stuffed animals, blankets and any other fabrics. Wash the most popular toys/blankets.
- Ideally, don‘t have a rug on the floor of the room and vacuum often.
If Laryngitis comes on a regular basis, be prepared. In your first-aid kit, make sure you keep antihistamines, dithiaden (a medicine available only on prescription and suitable from the age of 2) for sedation and, if necessary, the medicines aforementioned, in consultation with your doctor. If the disease recurs very frequently, consult a doctor and visit a specialized ENT doctor, allergist or immunologist with the child.
At the peak of Laryngitis, i.e. in autumn and early spring, it is a good idea to increase the consumption of fruit rich in vitamins or to use vitamins in preparations as a dietary supplement.
When it’s cold, children should not breathe through their mouths, we prefer to simply limit our stay outside. If children can‘t breathe through their nose, teach them to breathe in the cold. Try getting them to breathe through the collar of their coat or through a scarf or balaclava. The aim is to heat the air as much as possible while breathing. A hearty hot drink can also be very beneficial.
Overall, it‘s best to keep calm and not confuse it. If you are not sure that you’ll be able to handle the situation yourself at home, call the hospital or your GP and ask them what to do.