Inflammatory processes or health impairments of the airways contribute to the fact that those affected often feel very restricted in their well-being and their ability to perform. An inflammation of the windpipe or tracheitis is rare, but it requires medical treatment to limit further damage to health.
What is tracheitis?
According to Phonejust, the inflammation of the trachea is known as tracheitis in specialist circles and also among medical laypeople, whereby the ending -itis always describes an inflammatory process.
The tracheitis is primarily localized to the upper area of the airways and is felt to be extremely uncomfortable. As a rule, several sections of the upper trachea are affected before the tracheitis. In the case of tracheitis, these are the trachea itself as well as the larynx and bronchi.
These organs are quite close together, so the inflammatory phenomena and the causative pathogens can spread quickly from one organ to the other. Under these circumstances, it is also necessary to carry out a differentiated and as precise a diagnosis as possible in the case of tracheitis.
The development of tracheitis and its extent depend on a wide variety of influencing factors, which result from the environment as well as from the internal constitution in relation to the patient’s defenses.
It is typical for an inflammation of the trachea that, with regard to temporal relationships, there are indications of which are coupled with an infection caused by viruses. If an infection of the upper respiratory tract has been overcome, for example after the flu, the symptoms are often prolonged by an inflammation of the trachea. The pathogenic microorganisms, which primarily include bacteria, viruses or even fungi, migrate from the nasopharynx down to the larynx and spread throughout the trachea.
In addition to microbial germs, caustic gaseous substances that penetrate the trachea through the natural inhalation process also come into consideration for tracheitis.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
Tracheitis can cause a variety of symptoms and symptoms. Typical of the disease are hoarseness and coughing as well as a burning sensation under the breastbone. The cough is initially a dry cough with little or no mucus secretion. This makes it very stressful for those affected.
The initial hoarseness can lead to a complete loss of voice. There is usually a burning pain under the breastbone, which gets worse as the disease progresses. At the same time, general flu symptoms such as fatigue, fever and body aches occur. Patients are physically and mentally exhausted and can only cope with everyday tasks with great effort.
The fatigue increases in the first few days of the illness, but goes away after one to two weeks. Children can also experience shortness of breath and loud breathing noises due to the narrow airways. There is also an increased risk of bacterial superinfection, which manifests itself in breathing difficulties and typical signs of inflammation.
If the tracheitis is delayed, it can develop into a chronic disease. This leads to recurrent dry cough, sore throat and increasing discomfort. In the long term, chronic tracheitis can change the color of your voice.
Diagnosis & History
As a rule, the symptoms that appear in the case of tracheitis are already used as an aid to making a diagnosis. Classic symptoms of tracheitis are a hoarse voice and more or less severe impairment of the formation of sounds, permanent urge to cough and coughing, a feeling of tightness behind the breastbone and fever, pain in the limbs, fatigue and sometimes even breathing difficulties (common in children).
The doctor also uses the stethoscope to hear unusual sounds made when breathing during tracheitis. This anomaly is particularly evident during exhalation. In contrast to an acute tracheitis that subsides after a few days, a chronic, persistent tracheitis lasts for more than three weeks and can develop into bronchitis.
In the worst case, a tracheitis can be fatal if not treated promptly by a doctor. The reduced supply of oxygen can severely damage the internal organs and the brain, resulting in irreversible consequential damage that is ultimately no longer treated. Those affected suffer from coughing and hoarseness.
Furthermore, there is also a reactively high fever and exhaustion and fatigue in the patient. The resilience decreases significantly and there are complaints and symptoms that are very similar to the flu. Furthermore, the larynx of the patentee can become inflamed and also lead to death. It is not uncommon for headaches and body aches to occur and those affected suffer from a general feeling of illness.
The patient’s quality of life is significantly reduced and limited by the tracheitis. The treatment of tracheitis can take place with the help of drugs and antibiotics. However, those affected also have many self-help options available to treat this inflammation and alleviate the symptoms.
There are no particular complications and the course of the disease is usually positive. The patient’s life expectancy is also not affected by this inflammation if it is treated in good time.
When should you go to the doctor?
If the hoarseness and cough persist, a doctor should be consulted. Complaints that persist unabated for several days or have an increasing character should be examined and treated with medication. If there is a reduction in vocalization or the loss of voice, a doctor is needed. Pain or itchy throat, discomfort in the throat, or dry mouth should be checked by a doctor. If the usual level of performance drops or if flu-like symptoms appear, a doctor’s visit is advisable. Tiredness, fever or a general feeling of illness indicate an existing health irregularity that should be clarified by a doctor.
If there is no medical care, the patient is threatened with a chronic course of the disease. Permanent vocal damage can occur and should be prevented. Difficulty breathing and fatigue are other signs of illness that should be evaluated by a doctor. A refusal to eat due to existing throat problems must also be examined by a doctor. If the person concerned suffers from discomfort in the breastbone, dry sputum or shortness of breath, it is advisable to see a doctor. If you experience psychological symptoms such as anxiety, mood swings or behavioral problems, it is also advisable to consult a doctor.
Treatment & Therapy
In order to treat a tracheitis as quickly and gently as possible, doctors have various measures at their disposal. In addition, there are also extremely effective applications that can be used as an alternative to traditional home remedies.
In addition to avoiding the inhalation of gases that irritate the mucous membranes, inhaling liquids that are mixed with common salt help against tracheitis. It is also beneficial to use cough – relieving natural remedies or teas with chamomile, linden blossom and sage or hot milk with a teaspoon of honey to combat the irritating cough that occurs with tracheitis. Lozenges or candies with anti-inflammatory herbs and eucalyptus keep the mouth moist and clear the airways.
Since, under certain circumstances, tracheitis can promote pneumonia, especially in children and the elderly, its treatment sometimes requires the use of efficient antibiotics and drugs that loosen mucus.
Outlook & Forecast
The prognosis is usually favorable. The tracheitis even heals on its own within a week. If the typical symptoms persist afterwards, a doctor’s consultation is necessary. Then there is a suspicion that bacterial cultures are causing the symptoms. Doctors prescribe antibiotics. If drug therapy has no effect, there are other causes. These must be clarified in detail.
Children and the elderly are the most at risk. But people with a weakened immune system are also considered to be comparatively susceptible to tracheitis. Their reduced defense systems allow the inflammation to spread. Serious pneumonia is the result in rare cases. This has made the overall situation worse.
If the tracheitis occurs in the context of a cold or flu, a diet rich in vitamins ensures a faster healing process. Smokers should temporarily stop their nicotine consumption out of self-interest.
Tracheitis can also develop chronically. Then irritants are the trigger. It is not uncommon for narrowing and obstructions to develop in the trachea over the years. In these cases, the prognosis is significantly worse. There is a lack of sufficient stability, which can lead to life-threatening consequences.
Prevention of tracheitis can certainly be achieved if the immune system is strengthened (balanced diet rich in vitamins, exercise in the fresh air). For smokers, it is important to refrain from consuming tobacco if there are signs of tracheitis.
Moistening dry room air is also beneficial to avoid tracheitis. Dry air irritates the mucous membranes and dries them out. The germs can thus pass through the areas better and cause tracheitis.
Upper respiratory tract infections are also caused by aggressive vapors that can be in the air. This environment should therefore be avoided or protective equipment should be worn. Rapid, targeted treatment of flu-like effects is also considered a sensible prophylaxis against tracheitis.
Regular follow-up examinations are essential for tracheitis. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, an individual treatment plan is determined, which should help to reduce the symptoms in the long term. Long-term medications are also of great importance here and must be taken regularly.
If the patient has been symptom-free for years, the medication can be slowly discontinued to see how this affects the course of the disease. Under certain circumstances, he can even do without them completely. Since tracheitis is accompanied by flu-like symptoms that put an acute strain on the body, the resumption of everyday life should be done cautiously. This also includes gradually increasing the usual sports program in order to avoid a relapse.
You can do that yourself
If you have a tracheitis, you should definitely see your family doctor. The medical therapy can be supported by some self-help measures and home remedies.
First and foremost, the trachea must be spared – lots of sleep and relaxation are indicated. The fastest way to heal the inflammation is to air the bedroom regularly. After the acute phase of the illness, recovery can be supported by movement, although warm clothing and a scarf should of course be worn. The urge to cough can be relieved with sage, linden blossom, honey and other natural remedies. Anti-inflammatory herbs such as lady ‘s mantle or ginger and lozenges with eucalyptus help with inflammation. Regular inhalation helps against dry airways and coughing. Saline solutions or tea, which are best prepared with an electric vaporizer, are particularly effective.
Fever is best treated with cool compresses and an appropriate diet. In the case of hoarseness or loss of voice, rest and warm milk with honey also help. An effective alternative from homeopathy is the globules aconite in the potency D12. If the symptoms do not go away despite all the measures, medical advice is required.