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Bacteria, viruses, and fungi
, such as:
- Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)—the most common cause and the cause of the most deadly type of epiglottitis; not the same germ that causes the flu
- Staphylococcus aureus —also the cause of skin infections, pneumonia, and blood infections
- Streptococcus pneumoniae —also the cause of meningitis and pneumonia
- Streptococcus A, B, and C—also the cause of strep throat and blood infections
- Candida albicans —also the cause of yeast infections , diaper rash, and oral thrush
- Varicella zoster —also the cause of chickenpox and shingles
- Burns from hot liquids
- Physical injury to the throat area
- Crack cocaine
- Children, aged 3-7, living in countries that do not offer vaccines
- Infants younger than two months who are too young to receive vaccination
- Rarely, adults in their 40s
- Sex: Male
- Living in close quarters
- Attending day care, being in school, or working in an office
- Weather: more common in winter
- Race: more common among African Americans and Hispanics
- Fever over 103°F
- Sore throat and severe throat pain
- Difficulty swallowing with drooling
- Muffled voice
- Rapid breathing
- Increasingly difficult breathing
- Leaning forward and arching the neck backward to breathe
- Squeaky or raspy sounds while inhaling, caused by airway blockage
Symptoms associated with low oxygen levels:
- Bluish tint to skin or lips
Your doctor may test your bodily fluids and cells. This can be done with:
- Blood culture and count
- Throat culture
Your doctor may need to view your bodily structures. This can be done with:
- Neck x-ray
- Endotracheal intubation—A breathing tube is inserted through the nose or mouth and fed into the airway. This can only be done if the airway is not swollen shut. It should be done by an experienced physician.
- Tracheotomy —A breathing tube is inserted directly into the airway. This is done if the airway is swollen shut or if the airway is too swollen to do an endotracheal intubation.
- Household members and others who have spent time in the previous five out of seven days with an affected individual
- All daycare staff
American College of Emergency Physicians http://www.acep.org
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov
Canadian Immunization Guide http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Acute epiglottitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated June 15, 2011. Accessed February 12, 2013.
Haemophilus influenzae disease (including Hib). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/hi-disease/index.html. Updated September 25, 2012. Accessed February 12, 2013.
Sack JL, Brock CD. Identifying acute epiglottitis in adults. Postgraduate Medicine. 2002;112(1).
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 03/2013 -
- Update Date: 03/15/2013 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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