Epiglottitis: Care Instructions

Skip to the navigation

Your Care Instructions

Epiglottitis is pain and swelling of the epiglottis. The epiglottis is a flap of tissue at the back of the throat. It closes when you swallow to prevent food and fluids from getting into the trachea, or windpipe. The disease can be life-threatening, because the epiglottis can quickly block the windpipe and make breathing difficult.

The cause of epiglottitis is an infection from viruses or bacteria. Epiglottitis begins suddenly. You may be very sick and have a fever and trouble breathing. Your voice may be muffled, and you may have swallowing problems and may drool.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take your antibiotics as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You have severe trouble breathing or swallowing.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have worsening symptoms of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Pus draining from the area.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter Y216 in the search box to learn more about "Epiglottitis: Care Instructions".