Epiglottitis – Causes and Symptoms of Epiglottitis
Epiglottitis is a life threatening condition. The epiglottis is a small flap of tissue that sits on the base of the tongue and covers the windpipe. The main function of this is to keep food from going into the windpipe or trachea, during swallowing. But when it gets infected and inflamed, it blocks the flow of air into lungs resulting in breathing problems.
Causes of Epiglottitis
Epiglottitis has many causes like infectious, chemical and traumatic.
A common cause for epiglottitis is infection. The infection is caused by Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) bacteria that causes swelling and inflammation of epiglottis and surrounding tissues. It is also responsible for respiratory tract infections and inflammation of meninges. Hib is contagious and can spread from person to person through cough or sneezes.
The other infectious causes of Epiglottitis are:
- Streptococcus pneumoniae – A bacterium that causes inflammation of epiglottis along with meningites, pneumonia, blood and ear infections
- Streptococcus A, B, C – A group of bacteria that causes inflammation of epiglottis. Also cause throat and blood infections
- Varicella zoster – This is a virus that causes epiglottitis. Also responsible for chickenpox
- Candida albicans – A fungus that causes epiglottitis. Also responsible for vaginal infections and oral infections
- Drinking very hot liquids burns your throat and causes epiglottitis
- Swallowing corrosive chemicals burns your throat
- Smoking, drug intake, alcoholic drinking also causes epiglottitis
Symptoms of Epiglottitis
Signs and symptoms of epiglottitis develop within few hours in case of children. In adults the symptoms develop a bit slowly. The infection begins with fever and severe sore throat leading to other miserable conditions.
- Sore throat
- Painful and difficulty in swallowing
- Difficulty in breathing
- Drooling due to severe pain when swallowing
- Restless behavior
- The person feels comfort on leaning forward
- A weak and rough voice
- Hard breathing
- Blue lips and skin