Acute epiglotitis is a paediatric emergency. Management and treatment is as follows.
- alarm the parents or child
- examine the child in any way - especially do not try to visualize the epiglottitis using a tongue depressor
- call a senior anaesthetist, paediatrician and ENT surgeon
- alert theatres or ICU; the child needs to be admitted immediately
If respiratory arrest appears to be intervening before the senior help arrives, nebulised adrenaline can be used; this buys time but does not solve the underlying problem.
Diagnostically radiology is rarely required, and delaying treatment in order to image the child is inappropriate.