Epiglottitis – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments!

Epiglottitis – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments  we should all know. In addition, epiglottitis  is a  medical emergency that can result in death if not treated quickly. The epiglottis is a flap of tissue that sits at the base of the tongue and prevents food from entering the trachea or torroxal during swallowing. When it becomes infected and inflamed, it can obstruct or close the windpipe, which can be fatal unless it is promptly treated.

What is Epiglottitis: Epiglottitis ischaracterized by inflammation and swelling of the epiglottis. It is a potentially fatal disease.

The epiglottis is at the base of your tongue. It is mainly composed of cartilage. It works like a valve to prevent food and liquid from entering your windpipe when you eat and drink. The tissue that makes up the epiglottis can become infected, swell, and block the airway. This requires immediate medical attention. If you think you or someone else has Epiglottitis , call 911 or seek emergency medical help right away.

Epiglottitis is historically a more common condition in children , but it is becoming more common in adults. This requires prompt diagnosis and treatment in anyone, especially children, who are more vulnerable to respiratory complications.

What Causes Epiglottitis: A bacterial infection is the most common cause of Epiglottitis . Bacteria can enter your body when you breathe. It can then infect your epiglottis.

The most common strain of bacteria that causes this condition is Haemophilus influenzae type b, also known as Hib. You can catch Hib by inhaling the spread germs when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or blows their nose.

Additionally, viruses such as those that cause cancer and lung cancer , along with those that cause respiratory infections, can also result in Epiglottitis . Fungi, such as those that cause skin rashes or fungal infections, can also contribute to epiglottis inflammation.

Other causes of this condition include:

  • smoking crack cocaine
  • Chemical inhalation and chemical burns
  • Swallowing a foreign object
  • Burning your throat from steam or other heat sources
  • Suffering throat injuries from trauma, such as a stab or gunshot wound

What are the symptoms of Epiglottitis: The symptoms of Epiglottitis are the same regardless of the cause. However, they may differ between children and adults. Children can develop epiglottitis in a matter of hours. In adults, it often develops more slowly, over days. Symptoms of Epiglottitis that are common in children include:

  • a high fever
  • Decreased symptoms when leaning forward or sitting upright
  • sore throat
  • a hoarse voice
  • Drooling
  • difficulty swallowing
  • painful swallowing
  • restlessness
  • breathing through the mouth

Common Symptoms in Adults include:

  • fever
  • difficulty breathing
  • difficulty swallowing
  • A scraped or muffled voice
  • Rough, noisy breathing
  • A severe sore throat
  • An inability to catch your breath

If epiglottitis is left untreated, it can completely block your airway. This can lead to bluish discoloration of your skin due to lack of oxygen. This is a critical condition and requires immediate medical attention. If you suspect Epiglottitis , seek medical attention immediately.

How Epiglottitis is Diagnosed: Due to the severity of this condition, you may receive a diagnosis in an emergency care setting simply by physical observations and a medical history. In most cases, if your doctor thinks you may have Epiglottitis , they will admit you to the hospital. Once you are admitted, your doctor may perform any of the following tests to support the diagnosis:

  • X-rays of the throat and chest to see the severity of inflammation and infection
  • Throat and blood cultures to determine the cause of the infection, such as bacteria or viruses
  • A throat exam using a fiber optic tube

What is the Treatment for Epiglottitis : If your doctor thinks you have Epiglottitis , the first treatments usually involve monitoring your oxygen levels with a pulse oximetry device and securing your airway. If your blood oxygen levels become too low, you will likely get supplemental oxygen through a breathing tube or mask. Your doctor may also give you one or all of the following treatments:

  • Intravenous fluids for nutrition and hydration until you can swallow again
  • Antibiotics to treat a known or suspected bacterial infection
  • Anti-inflammatory medication, such as corticosteroids, to reduce throat swelling
  • You may also need a minor surgical procedure known as a tracheotomy, which is only used for severe cases. During this procedure, your
  • doctor inserts a needle into your windpipe. This allows for the exchange of oxygen and prevents respiratory failure.

If you seek immediate medical attention, you can expect a full recovery in most cases.

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