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Clinical features

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Possible clinical features include:

  • usually occurs in a child aged 2 years old or less; by comparison, acute epiglottitis is normally seen in children between 2 and 6 years old
  • may have a previous history of croup
  • the condition is slow onset - acute epiglottitis is of fast onset
  • stridor - generally inspiratory; may be biphasic
  • barking cough or "croupy" cough
  • no dysphagia - usually present in acute epiglottitis
  • increased temperature
  • child lying down - not upright as in acute epiglottitis
  • the child has a hoarse voice
  • dyspnoea - variable
  • pink colour
  • the child is struggling - not quiet as in acute epiglottitis
  • symptoms worsens at night
    • peak between 24 and 48 hours
    • usually resolves within 7 days.
  • agitation and crying aggravates symptoms
  • children feel comfortable in the upright posture or when they sit up



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