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Epiglottitis
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Epiglottitis

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CHILDREN'S HEALTH

Ear/Nose/Throat

CHILDREN'S HEALTH

Infants

Inflammation of the epiglottis that tends to cause airway obstruction, this disease typically strikes children between ages 2 and 8. 

Epiglottitis sometimes follows an upper respiratory infection and may rapidly progress to complete upper airway obstruction within 2 to 5 hours.  An emergency, epiglottitis can prove fatal in &% to 12% of victims unless it's recognized and treated promptly.

Prevention

Immunization with the Hib vaccine is the best known way to prevent epiglottitis in children under 5 years of age. Children usually receive the vaccine in three or four doses: at 2 months, 4 months and 12 to 15 months of age. Depending on the brand of vaccine used, an additional dose may be given when your child is 6 months old.

The vaccine is generally not given to adults or to children older than age 5 because they're less likely to develop Hib infection. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the vaccine for older children and adults whose immune systems have been weakened by:

The most common side effects of the Hib vaccine include redness, warmth or swelling at the injection site and a fever over 101 F. A serious allergic reaction to the vaccine is rare. Signs and symptoms of such a reaction include difficulty breathing, wheezing, hives, weakness, a rapid heartbeat or dizziness within minutes or a few hours after the shot. If any of these occur, get medical help immediately.

The Hib vaccine doesn't offer complete protection against epiglottitis — fully immunized children have been known to develop the condition. What's more, many germs in addition to Hib can cause epiglottitis. That's why it's important to take common-sense precautions against infection, such as washing your hands frequently.

 

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
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Last Modified : 03/15/08 12:29 AM