Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Epiglottitis

Epiglottitis is inflammation of the leaf-shaped lid of tissue (epiglottis) that is located over the opening to the large breathing tube leading to the lungs (trachea). This flap of tissue closes when a person swallows to prevent food and fluids from getting into the trachea.

Epiglottitis can be life-threatening because the inflamed and swollen epiglottis can rapidly block the trachea and make breathing difficult. Epiglottitis generally begins suddenly, without a previous upper respiratory infection.

Symptoms of epiglottitis may include:

  • Difficult or noisy breathing (stridor).
  • A high fever.
  • Drooling and trouble swallowing liquids.
  • A muffled voice.
  • Problems lying down. A child with epiglottitis usually prefers to sit up and lean forward with his or her head and jaw forward to breathe.

In the past, most cases of bacterial epiglottitis in children were caused by Haemophilus influenzae. This infection can be prevented with the Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine. Epiglottitis in children caused by Haemophilus influenzae is now very uncommon because of the vaccine. In adults, the cause is usually a strep infection.

A child with epiglottitis appears very sick and in distress. If a child has symptoms of epiglottitis, seek emergency care.

Call us at (515) 274-9136Call us at (515) 274-9136

Patient Alert

To protect our patients and staff in light of the Covid-19 virus, we ask that you do not come into our office if you or someone in your household has an acute cough, a fever, or has recently traveled out of the country. Further evaluation is available at local emergency departments or urgent care clinics. We do not have the ability to test for Covid 19. At this time, we are seeing patients at our office. We are offering allergy injections at normally scheduled times.