When the weather is dry, many people will feel dry and sore throats. Don’t treat it like a minor cold. Sometimes a sore throat can be fatal. Be wary of acute epiglottitis, which is a “throat-locking” attack. Acute epiglottitis, also known as supraglottic laryngitis or preepiglottic angina, is an acute inflammatory disease that mainly affects the epiglottis and its surrounding tissues (including the epiglottic vallecula, aryepiglottic folds, etc.) in the supraglottic area of the larynx. High degree of epiglottis edema is the main feature.
The epiglottis is a structure in the larynx. It is located above the glottis. Like the cover of the glottis, it can prevent food from accidentally entering the airway and causing choking. Acute epiglottitis is one of the most serious diseases in otolaryngology and can occur in both children and adults.
Once the epiglottis swells due to inflammation or allergy, you may experience persistent severe sore throat and progressive aggravation, difficulty swallowing, coughing when drinking water, throat congestion, reflex earache, chest tightness, slurred pronunciation or low pronunciation, etc.; In severe cases, symptoms such as dyspnea, stridor, hoarseness and salivation may occur. The onset of the disease is sudden, often at night, and the history rarely exceeds 12 hours. It ranks high on the list of “killers” of otolaryngology diseases.
Is the sore throat a cold or acute epiglottitis?
Sore throats caused by colds generally do not hinder breathing and cause symptoms of respiratory obstruction. In addition to severe sore throat, patients with acute epiglottitis often develop inspiratory laryngitis (abnormal breath sounds when inhaling) within 24 hours of onset.
Patients with acute epiglottitis have the word “urgent” highlighted. Patients usually develop symptoms within a few hours and progress quickly. Once acute and severe throat pain occurs, especially in the center of the throat, the pain will progressively worsen, difficulty swallowing, foreign body sensation, and even difficulty breathing. In case of illness, be sure to seek medical treatment immediately to avoid delaying the condition.
What are the causes of “one-step chokehold”?
■Bacterial infection and viral infection are the most common causes of acute epiglottitis, which often occur when the body’s resistance is reduced due to colds, colds, fatigue, drinking, etc.
■People with allergies should be aware that reactions to certain allergens due to diet, drugs or insect bites can also cause high-level edema in the epiglottis mucosa and aryepiglottic folds, causing suffocation.
■Certain thermal injuries in life, such as high-temperature drinks, scalding hot pots, inhalation of hot steam, etc., can cause congestion and swelling of the epiglottis, leading to edema.
■Acute inflammation of organs adjacent to the epiglottis, such as acute tonsillitis, pharyngitis, stomatitis, rhinitis and other surrounding organs, can also spread and invade the epiglottis mucosa, causing epiglottitis.
Seek medical attention promptly, diabetic patients should pay attention
Acute epiglottitis is a serious illness in the Department of Otolaryngology. When disease-related symptoms occur, vigilance should be heightened and indirect laryngoscopy should be performed for diagnosis. Patients with suspected acute epiglottitis should be treated immediately. Patients with acute epiglottitis who develop less than 24 hours after onset need to be hospitalized for observation, closely observe respiratory changes, and be prepared to establish an artificial airway while undergoing drug treatment and symptomatic nutritional support.
Throat infections in diabetic patients are more complicated than those in non-diabetic patients. Due to the reduced immune function of diabetic patients, they are prone to severe and rapidly developing infections. The soft tissues of the throat are loose, and local infection and edema can easily lead to laryngeal obstruction, Asphyxiation and death; infection can also aggravate glucose metabolism disorders and induce ketoacidosis or non-ketotic hyperosmolar coma. Diabetic patients should pay more attention to it, seek medical treatment promptly, and have it treated by a specialist.
Throat health tips
■Protect yourself and your family: Exercise properly to enhance the body’s resistance; keep warm to prevent colds; ensure adequate sleep to improve immunity.
■It is advisable to be light: While smoking and drinking are prohibited, avoid overeating spicy food; rinse your mouth frequently to keep your mouth clean.
■Anti-allergy: Be familiar with your allergens, especially be wary of food and drug allergies.
■Early treatment: Acute inflammation of organs near the epiglottis, such as sinusitis and tonsillitis, must be treated promptly to prevent the spread of infection. (The author is Luo Dan, an otolaryngology-head and neck surgeon at Shanghai First People’s Hospital)