Laryngitis is relatively common in infants and young children. Although it is benign in the vast majority of cases, it is always advisable to consult quickly, as a precaution.
Laryngitis: what is it?
- Laryngitis is an inflammation of the larynx, an organ located in the throat and home to the vocal cords. It is often due to a virus, classically a nasopharyngitis virus, but it can also be bacterial or even allergic.
- The most common forms of laryngitis are stridullary laryngitis (simple inflammation of the larynx without edema, ie without swelling) and acute subglottic laryngitis (inflammation with edema of the subglottic zone, causing discomfort more or less marked respiratory). Although it has become very rare in babies, we can also mention the supraglottic laryngitis, also called epiglottitis, caused by the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae type B. This is the most severe form of laryngitis, because edema Epiglottis (laryngeal structure) is a major impediment to breathing and is classified as a pediatric emergency.
- Good to know: the vaccine against Haemophilus influenzae type B is not mandatory, only strongly recommended. It is currently associated with mandatory vaccines against diphtheria, poliomyelitis and tetanus in a conjugate vaccine (eg, hexavalent diphtheria, polio and tetanus vaccine, Haemophilus influenzae type B, pertussis). and hepatitis B). The first injection normally takes place from 2 months, which explains why this form of laryngitis has become so rarefied ...
What are the symptoms of laryngitis in babies?
- In most cases, laryngitis follows a nasopharyngitis: baby has runny nose, a little fever ... The most characteristic symptom of laryngitis is a strong cough, usually starting at night. We speak of "barking cough" because of the very characteristic noise that it produces.
- Although generally minor, coughing can be very impressive. In addition to coughing, baby may also have wheezing and being hoarse.
- It is always advisable to consult quickly in case of respiratory discomfort in baby, even if most laryngitis remain benign. On the other hand, in the presence of more serious symptoms (very difficult breathing, sudden rise of the fever, blue lips, sweats), call the SAMU. Do not let him lie while waiting for the ambulance: the sitting position helps him to breathe better.
The treatment of laryngitis in babies
- The mildest forms of laryngitis (viral laryngitis without respiratory discomfort) do not necessarily require special treatment: in general, they heal spontaneously within a few days. In the meantime, it is usually limited to relieve symptoms (for example by giving paracetamol against fever) and prevent dehydration by drinking regularly baby.
- On the other hand, when there is respiratory discomfort, the pediatrician usually prescribes cortisone-based anti-inflammatories, to be taken orally or, much more rarely, administered by intravenous injection in the face of severe respiratory distress.
- As for the few cases of epiglottitis, they also require long-term antibiotic therapy.