Acute epiglottiditis is an inflammation of the epiglottis that tends to cause airway obstruction. It typically strikes children ages 2 to 8. A critical emergency, epiglottiditis can prove fatal in 8% to 12% of victims unless it’s recognized and treated promptly.
Epiglottiditis usually results from infection with the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae type B; occasionally, it results from pneumococci and group A streptococci.
Signs and symptoms
Sometimes preceded by an upper respiratory tract infection, epiglottiditis may progress to complete upper airway obstruction within 2 to 5 hours. Laryngeal obstruction results from inflammation and edema of the epiglottis. Accompanying symptoms include high fever, stridor, sore throat, dysphagia, irritability, restlessness, and drooling.