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Epiglottitis

more about Epiglottitis


  • The epiglottis is the cartilaginous structure hanging over the entrance to the larynx and covering the vocal cords.  Its function is to keep food from passing into the larynx and trachea (i.e., the airway bringing air to the lungs).  When the epiglottis becomes inflamed or infected, this condition is known as epiglottitis.

  • Pain on swallowing
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty or garbled speech
  • Drooling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever

  • Haemophilus Influenza
  • Haemophilus Parainfluenza
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Group A Streptococcus
  • Staphylococcus aureus

  • Stridor -- a whistling sound heard in the neck with a stethoscope
  • Indirect laryngoscopy (not safe to do in children) shows a swollen, red epiglottis
  • Children should be taken to the doctor's to have the epiglottis viewed with a special type of scope (flexible fiber optic laryngoscope).  If they have this condition, they are placed on a ventilator because they are at high risk of having their airway close off.

  • Intravenous antibiotics
  • Corticosteroids
  • Monitor oxygenation
  • Intubation (placed on ventilation machine) if the airway is in danger of closing (see above)

  • The most common cause is Haemophilus Influenza.  A vaccine is now available and given to all children as part of their routine vaccinations.

  • This is a life-threatening emergency.  This condition can cut off your airway and result in suffocation.  You or your child need emergency medical treatment -- call 911 immediately.




more about Epiglottitis


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