100 Grapevine Hwy Hurst TX 76054

Epiglottitis - ENT Specialists Hurst, TX

Epiglottitis Specialist in Hurst, TX

*WARNING: this condition is potentially life-threatening. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, don't wait. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away. *

If you or your child suddenly develops a fever, severe sore throat, and breathing problems it could be epiglottitis, a potentially dangerous swelling of the small cartilage that covers your windpipe (epiglottis). When your epiglottis swells, it can block air flow into your lungs.

The epiglottis is often called the trapdoor, or gatekeeper, of the throat. It's a flexible flap that is one of nine cartilage structures that form your larynx at the base of the tongue.

The epiglottis is a yellow elastic cartilage structure that is covered with a mucous membrane. It's shaped like a thin leaf and protects the opening between the vocal cords, which is also known as the entrance of the glottis. When you swallow your food, the epiglottis folds over the glottis to stop food and liquids from reaching the windpipe, which is also called the trachea.

This condition can occur due to infection, a burn to the throat, or damage to the throat area. As epiglottitis can make breathing difficult or impossible, get emergency medical attention immediately to prevent dramatic complications.

To speak with an epiglottitis specialist today in Hurst, call (817) 203-2760 or contact The New You Medical & Infusion Clinic online.

What are the symptoms of epiglottitis?

Initial epiglottitis symptoms resemble those of a cold, the flu, or a typical sore throat. Common symptoms include:

  • fever
  • sore throat
  • voice hoarseness
  • abnormal, high-pitched breathing sounds (stridor)
  • difficult, painful swallowing
  • drooling
  • restlessness
  • feeling more comfortable when sitting up or leaning forward

Symptoms also vary depending on whether the patient is a child or an adult. In children, symptoms tend to develop rapidly over a few hours. In adults, symptoms usually develop slowly over a few days.

Danger occurs when your epiglottis swells, threatening to interrupt your breathing.

What causes epiglottitis?

In the past, epiglottitis was usually caused by bacteria called haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib)—the same type that causes meningitis. Though these infections have become rare since the development of the Hib vaccine, you may still be susceptible if you've never been vaccinated.

Other bacteria that can cause epiglottitis include pneumococcus and streptococcus A, B, and C, which are responsible for causing meningitis , pneumonia , and ear infections , as well as strep throat and blood infections respectfully. Being male and having an immune system weakened by illness or other factors increase your risk of contracting epiglottitis.

Causes of non-infectious epiglottitis include:

  • physical injuries like direct hits to the throat
  • drinking something very hot
  • swallowing or inhaling a chemical like crack cocaine
  • long-term or constant inhaling of hot smoke and butane fumes

How is epiglottitis diagnosed?

To diagnose epiglottitis, the first priority is to make sure that your breathing passages are open. Then your healthcare provider will clip a pulse oximeter to your finger to measure the oxygen levels in your blood. If your oxygen saturation is too low, you'll be given oxygen to make sure your brain is getting enough.

Once your oxygen levels are normalized, your throat will be examined with x-rays to determine whether it's swollen. A throat culture will usually be taken, which involves your epiglottis being swiped with cotton swab. The swab is then sent to a lab for positive identification of Hib. In most cases, your blood will also be drawn and examined because bacteremia—a severe bloodstream infection—can occur along with epiglottitis.

How is epiglottitis treated?

If your epiglottis swells and you suffer breathing difficulties, call 911 or get to the nearest emergency room. Keep yourself or the patient quiet, calm, and sitting upright to make breathing easier. Never try to examine another person's throat yourself - this can complicate things or even make the condition worse.

You may be given an oxygen mask, or a breathing tube. In severe cases when air can't pass by your larynx, your physician will insert a needle into an area of cartilage in your windpipe (needle tracheostomy).

Once your breathing is stabilized medications that can be used include:

  • over-the-counter drugs like acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain management
  • corticosteroids to help reduce the swelling and calm the inflammation
  • broad-spectrum antibiotics (through either mouth or IV) to reduce your infection and swelling to improve breathing

Your lab results will help your provider determine which medications are best for you. Side effects of these medications include diarrhea, nausea, rapid heartbeat, and dizziness.

Though serious, epiglottitis in adults ranges from one to three people per 100,000 with a mortality of approximately 7.1%.1

How can I prevent epiglottitis?

The Hib vaccine is the most common method of preventing epiglottitis. Children over five and adults generally don't need the vaccine. However, it's recommended that you get the vaccine if your immune system has been weakened by sickle cell disease, HIV/AIDS, spleen removal, chemotherapy, or medications that prevent organ or bone marrow transplant rejections.

Vaccines can cause mild side effects like redness, warmth, swelling, or pain at the injection site, or fatigue or fever for a short time after receiving the shot. Get medical attention right away if you experience the following signs of an allergic reaction (will appear within minutes to 24 hours after getting your vaccine):

  • difficulty breathing
  • hives
  • rapid heartbeat
  • dizziness
  • muscle weakness

The Center for Disease Control and the FDA warn that vaccination can cause severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), shoulder injury related to vaccine administration (SIRVA), and fainting (vasovagal syncope).

Before the introduction of effective vaccines in 1985, about 20,000 children developed Hib disease annually and about 1,000 died.

The CDC and the FDA co-manage the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), where doctors can report adverse reactions. From January 1, 1990, through May 31, 2013, VAERS received more than 29,000 reports involving Hib vaccines, and 91 percent of them involved children under the age of two. About 17 percent were serious, meaning they led to life-threatening illness, hospitalization, permanent disability or death.

Since then there have also been recalls of vaccines like PedvaxHIB and Comvax due to contamination with Bacillus cereus, a potentially lethal food-poisoning bug. The FDA also warns that flakes of glass in vaccines can cause serious health problems such as adverse immune system reaction.

Before scheduling a vaccine parents often check their child's immune system to make sure it's uncompromised, and ask their provider to confirm that the vaccine product is safe.

To prevent swollen epiglottis from developing into a serious condition you can try these natural antibacterial remedies:

  • vitamins and nutrients: Vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin E are potent immune booster, and it can help naturally prevent an epiglottis infection immune system include vitamin A, vitamin E, and zinc.
  • removal of food allergens:: for those with allergies of food sensitivities avoid trigger foods like nuts, shellfish, wheat, milk, soy, and eggs; get tested with meridian stress assessment test, bio-meridian test, or bio-analysis with bio-energetic testing
  • herbal remedies:: goldenseal, licorice root, olive leaf extract, Echinacea, slippery elm, garlic, and oil of oregano. Eyebright and stinging nettle have been shown in studies to have antibiotic, antiviral, or antibacterial properties
  • essential oils:: lemon, frankincense, eucalyptus, tea tree oil, lavender, bergamot, and peppermint ease breathing-related problems associated with epiglottitis, while also fighting infection and soothing the respiratory tract.

Reserve Your Appointment Now

While epiglottis is rarer now than it once was, it can still pose a threat, especially if you or your child hasn't been vaccinated. If you have cold or flu symptoms and have trouble breathing, don't wait—get emergency medical attention right away.

To speak with an epiglottitis specialist today in Hurst, call (817) 203-2760 or contact The New You Medical & Infusion Clinic online.

*WARNING: this condition is potentially life-threatening. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, don't wait. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away. *


1. Abdallah, Claude. "Acute Epiglottitis: Trends, Diagnosis and Management." Saudi Journal of Anaesthesia 6.3 (2012): 279-281. PMC. Web. 19 July 2018.

Map Icon
Hours and Directions
The New You Medical & Infusion Clinic


100 Grapevine Hwy
Hurst, TX 76054
(817) 203-2760


Mon: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tue: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wed: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thu: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Fri: Closed
Sat: Closed
Sun: Closed

Areas We Service:

Tarrant County, TX, DFW, TX, Las Colinas, TX, Carrollton, TX, Dallas, TX, Irving, TX, Richardson, TX, Sunnyvale, TX, Frisco, TX, Roanoke, TX, Weatherford, TX, Arlington, TX, Bedford, TX, Colleyville, TX, Euless, TX, Fort Worth, TX, Grapevine, TX, Haltom City, TX, Keller, TX, North Richland Hills, TX, Southlake, TX, Watauga, TX