Epiglottitis has many possible causes. These include some bacteria, viruses, burns from drinking hot liquids and throat injuries. The bacteria Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) used to be a common cause of this condition in children. Today, a vaccine can prevent Hib. Skipping or delaying the vaccine raises the risk of epiglottitis.


Epiglottitis symptoms in children and adults can include a sore throat, fever, trouble swallowing and high-pitched sound while breathing in. Children also might drool, act anxious or short-tempered, and sit up or lean forward to breathe more easily. Epiglottitis symptoms can start within hours in children and over days in adults.


Epiglottitis treatment needs to be started quickly to prevent deadly complications. An oxygen mask, breathing tube or another procedure may be used to help a person get enough air. When bacteria cause epiglottitis, antibiotic medicine given through a needle in a vein can help clear up the infection.