A former paramedic has warned of a red flag for children’s health that could be a sign they have been infected with a potentially fatal disease.
Nikki Jurcutz, who was a paramedic for eight years at Ambulance Victoria, says excessive drooling in children could be a sign of epiglottitis.
The deadly infection is caused by swelling of the epiglottis, a gland in the body that covers the windpipe.
Former paramedic Nikki Jurcutz (pictured) has revealed a major health warning sign that can sometimes arise in young children if they become infected with the deadly disease epiglottitis.
Swelling of the glans – which functions like a flap to prevent air from entering the lungs – can cause significant breathing difficulties in infants and young children.
Once very common in children, one of the main symptoms of the infection is excessive drooling.
Ms Jurcutz warned that young children should be seen by a doctor immediately if this is the case.
“I’m a former paramedic and I know that if your child suddenly has excessive drooling, they will need to be seen by a doctor within the next five minutes,” Ms Jurcutz said in a video uploaded to Instagram.
“If an infection causes swelling of the epiglottis, it can prevent oxygen from reaching the lungs, which is why it is a medical emergency,” she said.
Although the disease is rare, children can die from it because the airways in their throat are blocked after the epiglottis swells and turns red.
Their condition can deteriorate as early as four to six hours after being infected with the disease.
They will have a very sore throat and unusually noisy breathing.
The video was posted on Tiny Hearts’ Instagram page on Sunday.
The organization, co-founded by Ms. Jurcutz, is dedicated to child safety education.
Ms Jurcutz shared some of the symptoms of the illness in a video posted to the Tiny Hearts Instagram page (pictured)
Ms Jurcutz (pictured) spent eight years working as a paramedic for Ambulance Victoria.
Most infants in Australia have been vaccinated against the disease with the Hib vaccine to protect against Haemophilus influenzae type b diseases, including epiglottitis.
These types of flu can affect various parts of the body, including the brain, throat, and ears.
The Hib vaccine has reduced the risk of illness in children because most have been vaccinated against the flu.
Epiglottitis can also affect adults who will also experience the same symptoms if they become infected with the disease.
Anyone suffering from epiglottitis should be taken to the nearest medical emergency department.
To stem the impact of the infection, passersby are advised to keep the infected person quiet and place them upright, as this will allow them to breathe better.