Epiglottitis In Children – 7 Causes, 15 Symptoms & 7 Treatments You Should Be Aware Of

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

If your child is having trouble breathing and swallowing, it can be an alarming call for epiglottitis.

It is an infection which mostly affects children. Your child’s day care or school increases the risk of getting exposed to the bacteria which causes epiglottitis.

What Is Epiglottitis?

Epiglottitis is a life-threatening condition, where the epiglottis tissue gets inflamed. It can be scary, if your little one has a weak immune system or you have delayed her immunization.

  • The epiglottis tissue is located at the base of the tongue which prevents food from entering the windpipe.
  • With inflamed tissue, it causes swelling and blockage of the airways.

[ Read: Enlarged Adenoids In Children ]

Causes Of Epiglottitis:

Epiglottitis -causing bacteria cause serious illnesses like strep throat, meningitis and pneumonia also.

  • Bacterium which causes inflammation of are Streptococcus pneumonia, and Streptococcus A, B and C
  • Additional to the above ones, viruses that cause chickenpox can
    also cause epiglottitis.
  • Inflammation of the epiglottis and its surrounding tissue is caused due to infection or injury.
  • Haemophilus influenza is a type B bacterium which is responsible for this infection and other serious conditions.
  • Fungi which causes yeast infection or diaper rash can also cause inflammation of the epiglottis.
  • Drinking hot drinks too quickly, can also lead to swelling in the epiglottis.
  • Injuries such as a sudden blow to the neck, can lead to epiglottis.

[ Read: Intestinal Malrotation In Children ]

Signs And Symptoms Of Epiglottitis:

If left untreated, epiglottis can lead to blockage of the airway. Call your doctor immediately. In children, signs and symptoms of epiglottis may develop within a matter of an hour.

  • Fever
  • Drooling
  • Anxiousness
  • Restless behavior
  • Your child may feel worse
  • Croaky voice
  • No cough
  • Severe sore throat
  • Difficult and painful swallowing
  • Breathing through mouth
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • An abnormal sound when breathing in
  • Upper airways obstruction (it is a sign of surgical emergency)
  • Bluish skin color (It happens due to lack of oxygen as the airway gets blocked)
  • Greater comfort when sitting up or leaning forward

Treatment For Epiglottitis:

If your doctor suspect epiglottitis, the first treatment he or she will probably do is monitor your child’s oxygen level. If it is low, your child will immediately be put on oxygen. The doctor may also provide the following treatment:

  • An X-ray of the neck.
  • Blood test and throat swab test can determine which organism is causing the infection.
  • Give Intravenous fluid for nutrition and hydration.
  • You child may be given antibiotics to get rid of the bacterial infection.
  • Corticosteroids are given to reduce swelling in the throat.
  • Additional medicines are also given to control fever.

In severe cases, doctor may do a minor surgery known as the tracheotomy. During this surgery, a needle is inserted into the trachea tissue to prevent respiration failure.

[ Read: Blood Infections In Children ]

Protect Your Child From Epiglottitis:

To treat epiglottitis, do not try experimenting with any kind of home remedies as it can be fatal. The right diagnosis and treatment in a certified hospital is the only path to quick recovery. You can reduce the risk of preventing and spreading of the condition by following the steps given below:

  • Your child should receive HiB vaccination at 2 months of age, and a booster shot between 12 to 15 months.
  • This infection is highly contagious. Proper steps should be taken to prevent it from spreading. Avoid sharing utensils, food, etc.
  • Teach your child to wash hands frequently with alcohol sanitizer to prevent the spreading of germs.

[ Read: Hepatitis In Children ]

Staying alert with the possible signs and symptoms can help you prevent epiglottis infection. With proper nutritious diet, your child will have a good immune system and recover completely.

If your child has been diagnosed with epiglottitis, share your views with other readers in the comment section below:

Reference: 1 , 2 , 3

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