Alternate Names : Epiglottiditis
Epiglottitis is an inflammation of the epiglottis, which is part of the voice box in the throat.
What is going on in the body?
The epiglottis is a cover that folds over the voice box during swallowing. It prevents food from entering the windpipe and lungs. Several things can cause inflammation of the epiglottis. When the epiglottis gets inflamed, it may swell up and block the windpipe. This can cause difficulty breathing and may be a life-threatening condition.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
An upper respiratory infection is probably the most common cause of epiglottitis. The airway of a child is much smaller than an adult, so it takes less swelling to close the airway. Therefore, children are at a greater risk for severe breathing problems. Allergic reactions, exposure to high-pressure steam, or chemicals can cause epiglottitis.