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Supraglottic laryngitis in children

Acute supraglottic laryngitis of childhood is essentially a clinical diagnosis. Examination of the throats of children with severe stridor due to supraglottic laryngitis is hazardous. If the tongue is depressed and the throat illuminated, the extremely swollen epiglottis will rise up like a dark-red sun from behind the base of the tongue, but unfortunately, eliciting this interesting physical sign is associated with a small risk of precipitating complete respiratory obstruction due to spasm within the larynx. It should not therefore be done. In the same way, any attempt to place a mirror in the throat or to pass a fibreoptic laryngoscope is equally hazardous.