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How is tracheitis diagnosed?

A diagnosis of tracheitis is based mainly upon observation of symptoms and examination of the child's throat. During a physical examination, a doctor will use a laryngoscope to look at the child's throat. Intercostal retractions (pulling in of the muscles in the rib area) may be visible as the child breathes. In addition, the child is likely to have the deep cough and high fever that are hallmarks of tracheitis.

The doctor may test your child's blood oxygen level and take nose or throat cultures in order to examine them for bacteria. In many cases, X-rays of the child's throat are taken; these can reveal distinctive features of the infection so that the doctor can rule out croup.

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