Epiglottitis is the inflammation of the epiglottis – the flap that sits at the base of the tongue, which keeps food from going into the trachea. Due to its place in the airway, swelling of this structure can interfere with breathing and constitutes a medical emergency. The infection can cause the epiglottis to either obstruct or completely close off the windpipe
Epiglottis involves bacterial infection of the epiglottis, most often caused by Haemophilus influenza type B.
-difficulty in swallowing
-hoarseness of voice
Diagnosis is confirmed by direct inspection using laryngoscopy, although this may provoke airway spasm.
If it is suspected, attempts to visualize the epiglottis using a tongue depressor are strongly discouraged for this reason. A paediatric, anaesthesia or ENT specialist should be alerted immediately. Imaging is rarely useful, and treatment should not be delayed this test to be carried out.
Epiglottis requires urgent tracheal intubation to protect the airway. Given in the initial stages to reduce symptoms, but this will not treat the underlying cause. It should also be noted that if stridor becomes quieter, obstruction is likely to follow, and thus intubation should be expedited even further.
In addition, patients should be given antibiotic such as second or third generation cephalosporins.