Epiglottitis

What is Epiglottitis?

An inflammation of the epiglottis is known as epiglottitis. It’s considered a potentially life-threatening condition1,2. The epiglottis is a leaf-like structure that is found at the superior end within the larynx in a person’s throat. This structure is located at the floor of the tongue and it mostly comprises cartilage tissue. It’s kind of a switch or valve that regulates activities of the esophagus and the larynx or voice box. It works to permit air to gain entry to the airways leading to the lungs. It also permits food and drinks to pass and move to the gastrointestinal tract (GI).

Epiglottis

Another function of the epiglottis is to offer protection to the body from things like choking caused by food or other things that would otherwise obstruct the airway.1,3 The structure prevents food or liquids from reaching the windpipe when a person is eating or drinking.

If there is an infection of epiglottis, it can swell and block the airway. This can be a serious condition that requires prompt medical attention. It should be considered a medical emergency. Epiglottitis has in the past been common in children, however, today, it has become a frequent condition among adults. The illness requires immediate diagnosis and treatment, especially in children because they tend to be vulnerable to complications associated with breathing.1,2

Causes of Epiglottitis

The commonest cause of epiglottitis is a bacterial infection specifically Haemophilus influenzae type B, which is popularly known as Hib. Bacteria may enter the body of an individual when they breathe it in. If the bacteria infect the epiglottis, they can cause epiglottitis. People can catch Hib through inhalation of the germs that are spread after an infected person sneezes, coughs, or blows their nose.

Epiglottitis

It is also likely for other bacteria strains to cause the illness including Streptococcus pneumonia and Streptococcus A, B, or C. Streptococcus A strain of bacteria is also responsible for causing other illnesses like strep throat. Being infected with Streptococcus pneumonia may cause conditions like bacterial pneumonia.1,2,4,6,7

In addition to bacterial causes, there are also other microbes that may bring about epiglottitis. For example, viruses involved in causing chickenpox and singles may also cause epiglottitis. Viruses that cause infections of the respiratory system can as well result in epiglottitis.

It is also possible for fungi to cause the condition for example, the ones that are responsible for causing yeast infection or diaper rash.

Other possible causes of epiglottitis are: 1,2,4,6,7

  • Swallowing foreign objects
  • Smoking crack cocaine
  • Inhaling chemical substances or having chemical burns
  • A burn of the throat from hot foods or steam
  • Trauma causing injury to throat for example, a gunshot, stabbing, or accidentally hitting the epiglottis during intubation
  • In rare instances, the illness may be caused by insect stings, insect bites, or allergic foods. If you get a sting from a bee when eating raw heavy, you can have the epiglottis swelling.2

Epiglottis can affect anyone, but children are at a greater risk. Children that are younger than 12 months are considered to be more vulnerable to this illness. The reason is because at this age, children are not yet done with having their Hib immunization series. In general, the illness is commonly reported in children who are at the age of 2 to 6. Also, older adults are at risk, especially those who have attained 85 years and above.

Children residing in countries that don’t provide vaccines or where vaccines are not easy to get may also be at risk. Some parents may choose not to immunize their children with Hib vaccine and this puts the kids at risk of developing epiglottitis. It is also found that males tend to suffer the illness more than females and it is not clear why there is this gender difference. People with weakened body immunity tend to be susceptible to suffering from the illness. Having diabetes puts individuals at risk too.

Symptoms of Epiglottitis

While there may be various causes of epiglottitis, the symptoms are similar, but there are some differences seen between children and adults. Kids can have epiglottitis in just a matter of hours, however, in adults, the illness develops slowly, often taking a couple of days.

In children, the epiglottitis symptoms are:1,2,4,7


  • Drooling
  • Sore throat
  • High fever accompanied by chills
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • A hoarse voice
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Painful swallowing
  • Lessening of the symptoms after the child leans forward or sits upright
  • Cough
  • Ear pain
  • Anxiety
  • Refusing to eat

In adults, the symptoms of epiglottitis may present in the following ways: 1,2,4,7

  • Having harsh, noisy breathing – stridor
  • Fever
  • A severe sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Unable to catch breath
  • Muffled or raspy voice
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Rapid swallow breaths
  • Trouble speaking
  • Leaning forward to allow breathing

Not treating epiglottitis could lead to blocking of airways completely and it may result in discoloration of the skin because of lack of oxygen. The skin will assume a bluish appearance. If this happens, it should be seen as a highly critical situation needing immediately medical help.

Diagnosis of Epiglottitis

If it is suspected that a patient has epiglottitis, the first thing it to ensure that sufficient oxygen is going to the lungs. A pulse oximeter may be used to give an estimate on the amount of oxygen in blood. If it is found that the oxygen saturation has dipped to extremely lower levels, a child may require help with breathing. The aim is to stabilize the condition before further tests are conducted. A doctor my order for tests and perform a physical exam.

X-ray

A neck or chest X-ray is ordered to examine the region and the epiglottis. The X-ray may show something like a thumbprint within the neck, and this is an indication that the epiglottis is enlarged.

Throat examination

A doctor uses a flexible fiber-optic tube comprising a light that looks down the throat to find out the cause for the symptoms. In the process, a local anesthetic may be applied to reduce discomforts.

Throat or blood culture

A doctor may order throat culture test whereby the epiglottis is wiped using a cotton swab. The fluid and tissue sample obtained with the cotton swab is then taken for laboratory analysis to check for Hib. Also the doctor may order that blood culture is done to find out if bacteremia may have occurred.

In bacteremia, bacteria enter the blood causing a serious bloodstream infection. Sometimes, bacteremia may accompany epiglottitis.

Other lab tests conducted to evaluate a patient for epiglottitis are blood tests to check for inflammation or infection. Arterial blood gas test that measures oxygenation of a person’s blood as well as the severity of airway obstruction may also be done. Immunological tests are conducted to look for antibodies that may point out to the specific virus or bacteria causing epiglottitis.

Proper diagnosis is needed because even with modern technology, it proves difficult to diagnose epiglottitis. In its early stages, the condition may be misdiagnosed as infectious mononucleosis, diphtheria, strep throat, or croup. It is quite easy to confuse a case of epiglottitis for croup.

Clinically, epiglottitis differs from croup in that it progressively worsens over time and there is lack of what is described as barking cough. In croup, the epiglottis is not swollen and appears red or pinkish, but in a case of epiglottitis, the epiglottis is swollen often appearing cherry red.

Treatment for Epiglottitis

When a person is suspected to have epiglottitis, immediate hospitalization should be done because the patient is in danger of having sudden or unpredictable airway closure. A secure breathing should be established. A patient may be prescribed antibiotics. The treatment approach may be as follows:

  • First, a doctor should make sure the patient is comfortable by ensuring sufficient oxygen is reaching the lungs. If no respiratory distress is detected, IV fluids may help the patient. It is also important that anxiety is prevented because it can cause acute airway blockage particular in young children.
  • If there are signs of airway blockage, laryngoscopy is required. In severe cases a doctor may have to perform a procedure known as cricothyrotomy, which involves cutting the neck and inserting a tube to help with breathing. The tube is placed into the windpipe. This option should however be looked at carefully, and only done if the patient seems to be critically ill or there is near-complete obstruction of airways.
  • IV antibiotics can help clean an infection in the epiglottis. It also helps control inflammation.

The prognosis may be good if the illness is diagnosed in advance and proper treatment offered. However, if there is inappropriate diagnosis or misdiagnosis, it can make the prognosis to be poor and there are likelihoods of the patient having prolonged handicap or even death. Epiglottitis can be prevented by ensuring that a child gets immunization against H. influenza type b (Hib).

If there is a child in a family who is aged 4 years and below and who is exposed to an individual infected with H influenza epiglottitis, it is important that all persons in the family are given preventive medications like rifampin to ensure that the illness doesn’t spread. The medication will help to eradicate the bacteria from the bodies of the infected individual, the child, and the members of the family. This helps to prevent a situation like ‘carrier state’ whereby an individual carries the bacteria in their body but they don’t actively become sick. The danger of having carriers of the bacteria is that it can still spread to infect other people.

Reference List


  1. Epiglottitis. https://www.healthline.com/health/epiglottitis
  2. https://www.emedicinehealth.com/epiglottitis/article_em.htm
  3. Epiglottis. http://www.innerbody.com/image_digeov/dige02-new2.html
  4. Epiglottitis: Symptoms and Causes. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/epiglottitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20372227
  5. Epiglottitis: Diagnosis and Treatment: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/epiglottitis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20372231
  6. https://www.msdmanuals.com/home/ear,-nose,-and-throat-disorders/mouth-and-throat-disorders/epiglottitis
  7. Epiglottitis. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/epiglottitis-infection-inflammation#1

54 comments

  1. For most recent news you have to go to see internet and on internet I found this web site as a most excellent web site for latest updates.

  2. Well written & done my friend!
    I started writing myself just rewcently and realised that manyy
    blogs simply rehash old ideas but add very little of value.
    It’s terrific to read a beneficial post oof some actual value to your followers and myself.

    It is onn my list of creteria Ineed to emulate bing a
    new blogger. Visitor engawgement and content quality
    are king.
    Some fantastic ideas; you’ve definitely managed to get onn my lst of people to watch!

    Coontinue the great work!
    Congratulations,
    Maryann

  3. از دیدگاه مجد در این قحطی نزدیک به ۴۰٪ (در برخی
    دیگر از منابع ۲۵ درصد) از جمعیت ایران به سبب گرسنگی و سوءتغذیه و بیماریهای
    ناشی از آن نابود شدند . به علت مشکلات روی داده در
    دوره افشاریه و دوره زندیه سرزمین ایران دارای ناامنیهای داخلی (مانند ناامنیهای جادهای)
    بود و ارتباط با خارج از کشور از جنوب و شمال
    ایران کاهش یافته بود و زمانی که دولت قاجاریه به
    وجود آمد ایران از نظر اقتصادی و سیاسی در وضعیت بدی بهسر میبرد و اولین انسجام ایران به شکل امروزی مدیون آقا محمدخان قاجار است
    هرچند که در زمان پادشاهان بعدی قاجاریه بخشهایی از ایران جدا شدند ولی خاک اصلی به صورت یک دولت متحد از زمان آقا محمدخان قاجار به
    بعد شکل گرفت و از نظر مورخان آن دوره
    وی به عنوان قهرمان ایران شناخته میشد
    و با وجود آغاز جنگهای عقیدتی که از زمان وی آغاز شد ولی ایران از نظر جنگهای داخلی
    به ثبات نسبیای رسید.

  4. very nice and useful site, my problem was solved
    after visiting this website. I will visit this web site
    often, cannot look ahead to the most recent posts from you !!

  5. Whats up this is somewhat of off topic but I was
    wondering iif blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding know-how so I wanted
    to get advice frkm somsone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  6. “He missed enormous opportunities and kept saying things that weren’t true,” the Democratic nominee said, noting that Trump’s administration said the virus would go away by Easter or be eradicated by the summer heat.

  7. Biden said there should have been more national standards earlier in the pandemic and that the President should be pushing all Americans to use masks as a way to stop the spread. Biden said he would lean on governors, as president, to mandate mask use.

  8. “It depends on the state of — the nature of the vaccine when it comes out and how it is being distributed,” Biden said, stating that there are possible legal questions about making it mandatory.

  9. questioning whether masks were an effective means to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and inaccurately painting Fauci as a Democrat who encouraged people to “not wear a mask under any circumstance.”

  10. “(Y)ou have my friend and he’s a nice guy Tony, Tony Fauci. He’s a nice guy.” Trump told supporters, who booed at the mention of Fauci’s name.

  11. Before the virus spread globally, Fauci did say that the American people shouldn’t be worried, but he was always clear that the situation could change and that public health officials needed to take it seriously.

  12. Great site you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any forums that cover the same topics discussed in this article?
    I’d really love to be a part of group where I can get advice from other experienced people that share the same interest.
    If you have any recommendations, please let
    me know. Bless you!

  13. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this excellent blog!
    I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your
    RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates and will
    talk about this website with my Facebook group.
    Chat soon!

  14. you are truly a just right webmaster. The web site loading velocity is incredible.
    It seems that you are doing any unique trick. In addition, The contents are masterwork.
    you have done a great task in this subject!

  15. I don’t know whether it’s just me or if everyone else experiencing issues with your site.
    It looks like some of the text in your posts are running off the
    screen. Can someone else please comment and let me know
    if this is happening to them too? This may be a issue with my internet browser because I’ve
    had this happen previously. Appreciate it

  16. You’re so cool! I don’t believe I’ve truly read anything like that before.

    So good to discover someone with original thoughts on this topic.
    Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This website is something
    that is needed on the internet, someone with a little originality!

  17. Superb blog you have here but I was wanting to know if
    you knew of any forums that cover the same topics talked
    about in this article? I’d really love to be a part of
    online community where I can get opinions from other experienced individuals that
    share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know.
    Many thanks!

  18. You could certainly see your skills within the article you
    write. The arena hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe.
    At all times follow your heart.

  19. Artikel yang bagus sekali. Saya menyukainya. Setiap manusia
    tentu berkeinginan mempunyai hunian yang bagus dan nyaman. Tetapi, untuk menentukan model & desain rumah yang pas dengan keinginan akan menjadi susah jika tidak mempunyai sampel bentuknya.
    Dari sini kita akan memaparkan gambaran mengenai
    model hunian minimalis terkini. Karena selain keren, model terbaru akan tepat untuk kamu yang
    ikut perkembangan zaman. rumah elit

  20. I am not certain where you are getting your information, however
    good topic. I must spend some time learning more or figuring out more.
    Thank you for excellent information I used to be looking for this
    information for my mission.

  21. Having read this I believed it was really enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this content together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

  22. href="https://fortalent.com/blog/view/s/2020-02-18-langkah-menang-togel-online-3d-abjad-sgp-hk-anti-kalah">Cara Menang Togel says:

    Great post! We are linking to this great post on our website. Keep up the great writing.

  23. href="https://poptype.co/botogel-terpercaya/cara-jitu-main-bandar-togel-terpercaya-pasti-tembus">cara jitu main togel says:

    I blog quite often and I really thank you for your content. The article has really peaked my interest. I’m going to bookmark your blog and keep checking for new details about once per week. I opted in for your Feed too.

  24. Very well done & written!
    I began blogging just recently and observed lot off people merely rework olld ideas but add very little of value.
    It’s terrific to read an insightful write-up of some
    real value to myself and yor other readers.
    It is actually going down oon mmy list of things I need to replicate as a new blogger.
    Visitor engagemeht and content quality are king.
    Some wnderful thoughts; you have definitely got on my list of sites to
    follow!

    Carry on the terrific work!
    All the best,
    Dorris

  25. If you receive an email that requires personal data such as
    your reputation or mother’s maiden name or financial information including your
    bank or credit card account numbers and related passwords, watch out.
    – is incredibly difficult to detect because its utilization of emotional and social triggers.
    Find a member of family or good friend who’d be willing to stop through your home and look out occasionally when you are away.

  26. Very well written and done.
    I started writing myself in the last few days and realized that lot of articles simply rework
    old idas but addd very little of value. It’s
    fantastic to see an educational write-up of some actual value to your
    readers and me.
    It iss actually on my list of factors I need to replicate being a new blogger.
    Visitor engagement and ontent quality are king.
    Some great thoughts; you have certainly got on my list of
    sites to watch!

    Keep uup the fantastic work!
    Well done,
    Sophie

  27. I just like the helpful info you supply to your articles.
    I will bookmark your blog and take a look
    at again here regularly. I’m somewhat sure I will learn many new
    stuff proper here! Best of luck for the next!

  28. Excellent web site you have got here.. It’s difficult to find high-quality writing like yours
    these days. I seriously appreciate individuals like you!

    Take care!!

  29. you’re truly a excellent webmaster. The site loading velocity is amazing.
    It sort of feels that you’re doing any distinctive
    trick. Also, The contents are masterwork. you’ve done a great job in this
    subject!

  30. Nicely done and written!
    I’ve just started writing in the last few days and realized
    lott of articles merely rework old ideas but
    addd very little of benefit. It’s fantastic
    to read an educational post of some genukne value to me, as a reader.

    It’s on my list of things I need to replicate as a new blogger.
    Reader engagement and content quality are king.

    Some awesome suggestions; you have most certainly managed to get on my list of blogs to watch!

    Keep up thee great work!
    All the best,
    Wilek

  31. Very welll done and written my friend!
    I’ve just started writingg a blog myself in the
    last few das and realised many people merely rework old ideas but add very little of worth.
    It’s terrific to read an insightful write-up of some genuine value to myself
    and your other followers.
    It is on the list of factors I need to replicate being a new blogger.
    Reader engagement and material value are king.
    Many fantastic thoughts; you have absolutely got on my list of people to watch!

    Continue the terrific work!
    Congratulations,
    Hyacintha

  32. Hmm it seems like your blog ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum
    it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything.

    Do you have any suggestions for newbie blog writers? I’d definitely appreciate it.

  33. data-query-source=”hashtag_click” class=”twitter-hashtag pretty-link js-nav” data-query-source=”hashtag_click” class=”twitter-hashtag pretty-link js-nav”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.