ENT Head & Neck Surgery Center

Rm 02, 5/F., Kai Seng Commerical Centre,
4-6 Hankow Road, TST Kln, HK
(near Kowloon Hotel)
Tel: (852) 3100 0555
Fax: (852) 3100 0556

Lawrence Chow / ENT Doctor

Tracheitis: Annoyance or Dangerous Condition?

Tracheitis is an infection of the trachea, which is more commonly known as the windpipe. An infection in this part of the anatomy may seem like an annoyance, such as when a performance of “Manon Lescaut” by the noted soprano María José Siri was canceled due to tracheitis. But this isn’t as minor as it may seem at first. Hayden wrestling coach Chad Jones died of this infection because it was left unchecked. He thought that it was merely strep throat, and found out too late that it was tracheitis.

Tracheitis in Children and Adults

Although tracheitis is more known to strike children, these 2 examples show that it can affect adults as well. It is true that it’s more dangerous in children, because they have a smaller trachea and the swelling blocks the windpipe more easily. Yet as the case of Coach Chad Jones shows, it can also be fatal.

Causes and Symptoms

Most cases of tracheitis occur following a bout with the common cold or flu. At first the problem may be signified with a runny nose, a cough, or a low-grade fever. But then the bacteria can spread to the trachea and cause an infection, and this will then lead to breathing difficulties.


The more common symptoms afterwards include high fever, a deep severe cough, wheezing, nasal flaring, and a blue tinge to their skin called cyanosis. Stridor may also develop, and this is the high-pitched sound the patient may make when they breathe. When you have stridor, it’s a sign that the infection has turned serious and that the airway is already partially obstructed. This is a certain sign that medical attention is warranted.

Treatment Options

If left untreated, the condition may block the trachea completely, leading to respiratory arrest and death. If the infection was caused by the S. aureus bacteria, toxic shock syndrome may also develop. This is a condition that can lead to shock, organ failure, and death.


These reasons signify the need for prompt diagnosis and treatment. Once tracheitis has been diagnosed, the doctor can give the patient antibiotics to kill the bacteria. These are typically administered intravenously.


Clearing the airway will also be a priority. To help the patient breathe, the doctor may have to insert an endotracheal tube into the trachea of the patient. This is called the intubation procedure. The tube, after it has been put into its proper position, will then be connected to a ventilator. This will help improve the lung function while the patient is recovering from the infection.


Tracheitis must be treated by an ENT doctor as quickly as possible, even though it may seem like an annoying problem at first. If it is not treated right away, it can lead to serious complications—including death.


If you suffer an ENT problem, it is suggested to consult an ENT doctor for the appropriate ENT treatment. Please contact us for an appointment of our ENT services and consulation at 3100 0555.




HK ENT Specialist Ltd.

Hong Kong based ENT clinic centre

For ENT Services, Audiology & Speech Therapy,

Sleep Disordered Breathing Management,

Hearing Aid Prescription & Medical Cosmetic Services


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