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Stridor Causes & Symptoms in Infants & Children

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What is stridor?

Stridor is an irregular, high-pitched sound produced by airflow passing through a slightly obstructed airway. The sound is most easily heard during inhalation, but can sometimes be heard during exhalation too. The condition is a symptom, not a disease or diagnosis, and those who exhibit signs of stridor should visit an ear, nose and throat physician, such as New York ENT to determine the exact cause of the symptom.

What causes stridor in infants?

The most common cause for stridor in babies is a blockage in the larynx (voice box) or trachea (windpipe). Infections in the upper airway, such as croup, is also a common cause for stridor.

What are the symptoms of stridor?

Because stridor is a sign of an underlying condition, the symptoms experienced in conjunction will vary depending on the underlying problem. When croup is the cause for stridor symptoms, children and infants may also exhibit the following signs:

  • Faster breathing than usual
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fatigue

When should I take my child to a doctor for stridor?

If your child is suffering from stridor that does not subside within a short amount of time, it is important to see an ear, nose and throat physician, such as New York ENT to accurately diagnose the underlying condition.

How is stridor treated?

Often, underlying causes of stridor can be treated at home. Make sure children suffering from stridor are comfortable and calm. Crying and getting upset can worsen the airway obstruction, so keeping your child calm and speaking to them with a soothing voice can help them to recover faster.

When symptoms do not go away within a few days, doctors may prescribe medication to reduce airway inflammation. In serious cases, children may need to spend time in a hospital and in very rare cases need a breathing tube to help the child breathe.

If you believe your child may be suffering from stridor, the first step is to schedule an evaluation with an experienced ear, nose and throat doctor. Board certified physicians with New York ENT have extensive experience diagnosing and treating a wide variety of throat conditions. Fill out the form on this page or call our office at (212) 873-6168 to schedule an appointment today.

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