Action Stat: Epiglottitis
Ellen M. Chiocca MSN, RN-C, APN, CPNP

March 2011 
Volume 41  Number 3
Pages 72 - 72
  PDF Version Available!

THREE-YEAR-OLD FL arrives in the ED with his mother. Through an interpreter, Ms. L says that her son seemed fine until this morning, when he developed a fever and sore throat. Now his throat is so sore that he can't swallow, so he's drooling into a tissue. When you ask him how he feels, his speech is muffled. He's tachypneic, dyspneic, and restless. His vital signs are: temperature, 103.2[degrees] F (39.5[degrees] C); pulse, 128; respirations, 32 and labored; BP, 102/66; and SpO2, 92% on room air. You notice suprasternal and intercostal retractions, but no cough.Ms. L says none of her other three children is ill. The family recently moved to the United States from rural Mexico, and the children haven't had any routine immunizations. FL has no known allergies or significant medical history, and takes no medications.Based on the clinical picture, you suspect that FL has epiglottitis, an inflammation of the epiglottis and adjacent supraglottic structures. Most common in children ages 1 to

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