Epiglottitis is an uncommon but serious condition in which the epiglottis is infected. The epiglottis is a tongue-like tissue flap positioned at the rear part of the throat. The infection is triggered by the Haemophilus influenza type B bacteria.
The condition is dangerous because once the epiglottis is swollen, it obstructs the trachea and disrupts normal breathing. Children between the ages 2-6 years are prone to this condition. Luckily, the condition is uncommon with the availability of the Hib vaccine which prevents infections due to Haemophilus influenza type B.
How does it start?
The infection starts with a sore throat and fever that is higher than 101 degrees F and causes the child is become sick rapidly.
The throat becomes extremely sore. In every breath, the child produces a harsh or raspy noise known as stridor. There is also difficulty swallowing along with drooling. In addition, the child refuses to lie down and most comfortable being seated and leaning forward.
Treatment for epiglottitis
In case the child has an excessively sore throat along with drooling and/or difficulty breathing, call a doctor right away. Due to the rapid progression and serious consequences, a doctor must be consulted immediately.
During the early phases of epiglottitis, the doctor should be able to determine if the child has the condition without requiring an X-ray. If the condition progressed to include drooling or hoarse breathing, the child should be taken to the emergency department for proper treatment.
The Hib vaccine is readily available to deal with the bacteria responsible for causing epiglottitis. The child should be given the full series of the Hib vaccine based on the recommendations of the doctor.
Nevertheless, even if the child has been given the vaccine, a doctor should be consulted if there has been possible exposure to another child with the infection.