Tracheitis is a condition in which the trachea has become infected with some type of bacteria. Sometimes referred to as bacterial tracheitis, the level of the infection may be so severe that the trachea swells enough to inhibit the function of the airway. It is not unusual for this type of health issue to develop whenever an upper respiratory condition exists, such as a severe cold or croup. Addressing the infection that causes the trachea to swell is of primary importance, along with clearing the partially or totally blocked airway as soon as possible.
The symptoms associated with this condition include the development of a cough that is increasingly deep and sharp, somewhat like the barking of a large dog. There is a constant sense of scratchiness in the throat that is somewhat like that of a sore throat, although often more severe. Because the trachea is swollen, breathing becomes increasingly difficult. A person suffering with acute tracheitis will wheeze with every breath taken, not unlike someone who is experiencing an asthma attack.
Other symptoms include the development of a fever, as well as other types of pain and discomfort in the head and the upper chest area. The symptoms that tend to signal the onset of the infection include a headache that doesn’t seem to go away and some sense of feeling dizzy or lightheaded. There is also the possibility of experiencing an earache in one or both ears.
Tracheitis sufferers may also find that they experience some sort of unsettling pain or discomfort in the upper chest area. This may take the form of a feeling of being sore, usually after the barking cough has started. There may be some tingling, as well as some amount of tenderness in the area from the base of the neck and spreading through the upper chest region.
Patients who have trouble breathing for any reason should see a healthcare professional. Since the swelling can progress rapidly, getting emergency medical treatment can help stop the infection before the trachea swells to the point of completely blocking the airway. It is not unusual for medical professionals to insert a breathing tube in order to make sure the patient can breathe while medication is used to kill the infection that led to the swelling in the first place. In severe cases, the patient may also receive a drain tube that helps to remove fluid buildup in the infected area. Doing so helps to relieve some of the symptoms while also giving the medication time to begin reducing the swelling.