During childhood, stridor is usually caused by infection of the cartilage flap (epiglottis) that covers the opening of the trachea to prevent material from entering the lungs and choking a person during swallowing.
Stridor is a term used to describe noisy breathing in general and to refer specifically to a high-pitched crowing sound associated with croup, respiratory infection, and airway obstruction.
When stridor is present in a newborn, pediatricians and neonatologists also look for evidence of heart defects or neurological disorders that may cause paralysis of the vocal cords.
In other cases, a doctor should be consulted on a non-emergency basis whenever stridor develops in a newborn or when stridor accompanies other signs of illness such as a fever.
The symptoms of epiglottitis include a sudden high fever, drooling, the feeling of an object stuck in the throat, and stridor (a high-pitched, noisy respiratory sound).
As a result of the narrowed airways, the individual may cough, wheeze, feel short of breath, or make a high-pitched, harsh sound (called stridor) with each breath.
Taking precautions against colds and bronchial infections (washing hands, not sharing dishes, avoiding sick people) can cut down on stridor from infective causes.
Because the swollen epiglottis interferes significantly with air movement, every breath creates a loud, harsh, high-pitched sound referred to as stridor.
Young children also frequently develop acute stridor by inhaling a foreign object, often food such as hot dogs, popcorn, or hard candy.
Croup, an inflammation of the trachea (windpipe) and larynx (voice box), is the most common cause of stridor in children under age two.