Laryngitis

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Laryngitis

Laryngitis  is an acute viral inflammation of the larynx, which is described as croup syndrome:  cough, hoarse voice and difficulty in breathing. The main symptom of laryngitis is hoarseness.

Causes

Laryngitis is usually caused by viruses: parainfluenza, respiratory syncytial virus, influenza virus (particularly type A). These viruses spread by the aerosol - droplet transmission, they enter through the nose, mouth or nasopharynx and penetrate to the larynx and trachea. There the viruses cause inflammation, which results in red and swelling mucous membranes, leading to difficulty breathing and hoarseness. Due to specific anatomical features, children tend to be more prone to laryngitis.

Signs and symptoms

Laryngitis usually starts with fever, rhinitis (runny nose), general fatigue and weakness. These signs are followed by cough. In most cases the cough is dry, barking, and commonly attacks at night. As the disease progresses, shortness of breath may occur:  it becomes difficult to inhale, the inspiration is loud and requires a lot of effort. The patient's voice gets hoarse. In more severe cases respiratory distress may develop. The patient struggles to breathe; he leans forward while sitting, and may turn bluish as he suffers from cyanosis.

Diagnostics

Laryngitis is usually diagnosed based on the signs and symptoms of the disease as well as the patient's examination. It is important not to confuse laryngitis with a much more severe disease - epiglottitis (inflammation of the epiglottis).  Blood tests are performed as well, in order to detect the signs inflammation signs and respiratory failure degree.

Treatment

If children and infants suffer from respiratory distress, it is complicated to perform their laryngitis treatment at home, therefore the disease is treated at a hospital. If the patient shows moderate symptoms of laryngitis, he/she can be treated at home. As any antibiotics do not fight against the viruses, proper diet and sufficient usage of fluids plays the biggest importance during the treatment of laryngitis. Adrenaline inhalations can be prescribed, as they reduce the swelling of the larynx. In more severe cases, intravenous glucocorticoids are used. In especially acute cases, the child is treated in an intensive care unit and is intubated.

   

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