Epiglottitis, Child

ExitCare ImageEpiglottitis means the epiglottis is red, sore, and puffy (inflamed). The epiglottis is a small flap of tissue at the back of the tongue. This tissue flap stops food from going down the windpipe when eating. A puffy epiglottis can make it hard to breathe. This is an emergency.


  • Give your child medicine as told by the doctor.

  • If medicines (antibiotics) are given, make sure your child takes them as told. Make sure your child finishes them even if he or she starts to feel better.

  • If the doctor made an opening in the neck (tracheostomy), make sure you understand the doctor's instructions. Call the doctor right away if you have questions.

  • Make sure your child drinks enough fluids to keep his or her pee (urine) clear or pale yellow.

  • Only give your child soft foods. Over time, you can slowly switch to regular foods.

  • Your child should stay quiet as much as possible for several days.

  • Family members may need to take medicines (antibiotics). Follow the doctor's directions.

  • Keep all doctor visits as told.


  • Your child has a very bad sore throat.

  • Your child has trouble swallowing.

  • Your child has trouble breathing.

  • Your child who is younger than 3 months has a fever.

  • Your child who is older than 3 months has a fever and persistent symptoms.

  • Your child who is older than 3 months has a fever and symptoms suddenly get worse.

  • Your child drools more than normal.

  • Your child needs to sit forward to breathe.

  • Your child is very irritable or seems to be very sick.

  • Your child has a cough.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your child's condition.

  • Will get help right away if your child is not doing well or gets worse.