Throat anatomy

The throat consists of the esophagus, windpipe (trachea), voice crate (larynx), tonsils and also epiglottis.

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Epiglottitis is a possibly life-threatening problem that occurs as soon as the epiglottis — a tiny cartilage "lid" that covers her windpipe — swells, impede the circulation of air right into your lungs.

A variety of factors can reason the epiglottis come swell — burns from warm liquids, straight injury to your throat and also various infections. The many common cause of epiglottitis in children in the past was infection with Haemophilus influenzae form b (Hib), the same bacterium that causes pneumonia, meningitis and also infections in the bloodstream. Epiglottitis can occur at any type of age.

Routine Hib vaccination for infants has actually made epiglottitis rare, but the condition remains a concern. If you suspect that girlfriend or someone in your family members has epiglottitis, look for emergency assist immediately. Note treatment have the right to prevent life-threatening complications.

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Symptoms in children

In children, signs and symptoms the epiglottitis may construct within a matter of hours, including:

Fever major sore neck Abnormal, high-pitched sound when breathing in (stridor) complicated and pains swallowing Drooling Anxious, restless habits Feeling better when sitting up or leaning forward

Symptoms in adults

For adults, signs and also symptoms might develop an ext slowly, end days quite than hours. Signs and symptoms might include:

significant sore throat fever A muffled or hoarse voice Abnormal, high-pitched sound as soon as breathing in (stridor) an obstacle breathing difficulty swallowing Drooling

When to watch a doctor

Epiglottitis is a medical emergency. If girlfriend or who you recognize suddenly has trouble breathing and swallowing, speak to your neighborhood emergency number or go to the nearest hospital emergency department. Try to keep the human quiet and also upright, due to the fact that this position might make it easier to breathe. Don"t shot to examine the person"s neck yourself. This have the right to make problem worse.

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Epiglottitis is led to by an infection or one injury.


In the past, a common reason of swelling and also inflammation of the epiglottis and surrounding tissues was infection through Haemophilus influenzae kind b (Hib) bacteria. Hib is responsible because that a number of serious conditions, the most usual of i beg your pardon is meningitis. Hib is now much less typical in emerged countries due to Hib immunization in children.

Hib spreads through infected droplets coughed or sneezed into the air. It"s possible to port Hib in her nose and throat without coming to be sick — despite you still deserve to spread the bacteria come others.

In adults, various other bacteria and viruses also can cause inflammation the the epiglottis, including:

Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus), another bacterium that can reason meningitis, pneumonia, ear infection and also blood infection (septicemia) Streptococcus A, B and also C, a group of bacteria the can cause diseases varying from strep neck to blood epidemic Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that causes skin infections and also other diseases including pneumonia and also toxic shock syndrome


Physical injury, such as a direct blow to the throat, can cause epiglottitis. So can burns indigenous drinking an extremely hot or corrosive liquids.

You likewise may build signs and symptoms comparable to those that epiglottitis if you:

sloop down a chemical that burns your neck Swallow a international object exhilaration drugs, such together crack cocaine

Risk factors

Certain determinants increase the threat of emerging epiglottitis, including:

Being male. Epiglottitis affects an ext males 보다 females. Having a dilute immune system. If her immune system has been dilute by illness or medication, you"re much more susceptible to the bacterial infections that may reason epiglottitis. Lacking adequate vaccination. delayed or skipped immunizations have the right to leave a child breakable to Hib and increases the threat of epiglottitis.


Epiglottitis can cause a variety of complications, including:

Respiratory failure. The epiglottis is a small, movable "lid" just above the larynx that stays clear of food and drink indigenous entering your windpipe. But if the epiglottis becomes swollen — either from epidemic or native injury — the airway narrows and may become completely blocked. This deserve to lead to respiratory failure — a life-threatening problem in i m sorry the level that oxygen in the blood drops dangerously short or the level the carbon dioxide i do not care excessively high. Spreading infection. sometimes the bacteria that cause epiglottitis reason infections elsewhere in the body, such as pneumonia, meningitis or a bloodstream infection.


Hib vaccine

Immunization through the Hib vaccine is one effective way to stop epiglottitis brought about by Hib. In the joined States, children usually obtain the vaccine in three or four doses:

in ~ 2 month At 4 month At 6 month if your boy is being given the four-dose vaccine at 12 to 15 months

The Hib vaccine is normally not offered to children older than period 5 or come adults since they"re much less likely to build Hib infection. But the Centers for disease Control and Prevention recommends the vaccine because that older children and adults whose immune systems have actually been weakened by:

Sickle cell condition HIV/AIDS Spleen removal Chemotherapy medications to avoid rejection of body organ or bone marrow transplants

Vaccine side effects

Allergic reaction. Seek instant medical help if you have actually an allergy reaction. Despite rare, an allergy reaction might cause challenge breathing, wheezing, hives, weakness, a rapid heartbeat or dizziness in ~ minutes or a couple of hours after ~ the shot. Possible mild side effects.

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These include redness, warmth, ede or pain in ~ the injection site, and also a fever.

Commonsense precautions

Of course, the Hib vaccine doesn"t offer guarantees. Vaccinated kids have been known to develop epiglottitis — and other virus can cause epiglottitis, too. That"s wherein commonsense precautions come in:

Don"t share personal items. Wash her hands frequently. Usage an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and also water aren"t available.

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