A former paramedic has warned about a health red flag in children that may be a sign they have been infected with a life-threatening disease.
Nikki Jurcutz, who was a paramedic for eight years with Ambulance Victoria, says excessive drooling among children could be a sign of epiglottitis.
The deadly infection is caused by a swelling of the epiglottis, a glan in the body that covers the windpipe.
Former paramedic Nikki Jurcutz (pictured) revealed a major health red flag that can sometimes arise in small children if they are infected with the deadly disease epiglottitis
A swelling of the glan – which works like a flap to block air from going into the lungs – can cause major breathing difficulties for infants and young children.
Once very common among children, a main symptom of the infection is excessive drooling.
Ms Jurcutz warned young children need to be seen by a doctor immediately if this is the case.
‘I’m an ex-paramedic and I know that if your child has sudden excessive drooling, they’d need to be seen by a doctor in the next five minutes,’ Ms Jurcutz said in a video uploaded to Instagram.
‘If an infection causes the epiglottis to swell, it can block the oxygen from getting to the lungs, which is why it is a medical emergency,’ she said.
While the disease is rare, children can die from the condition as the airway in their throat gets blocked after the epiglottis swells up and turns red.
Their condition can deteriorate as soon as four to six hours after they have been infected with the disease.
They will have a very sore throat and unusually noisy breathing.
The video was put up on the Tiny Hearts Instagram page on Sunday.
The organisation, which was co-founded by Ms Jurcutz, is dedicated to education about children’s safety.
Ms Jurcutz shared some of the symptoms of the disease 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 for protection against Haemophilus influenzae type b diseases, including epiglottitis.
These types of influenza can affect various body parts including the brain, throat, and ears.
The Hib vaccine has reduced the rate of risk from the disease among children as most have been immunised against the influenza.
Epiglottitis can also affect adults who will also experience the same symptoms if infected with the disease.
Anyone with epiglottitis should be taken to the closest medical emergency department.
To stem the impact from the infection, bystanders are urged to keep the infected person quiet and position them upright as this will enable them to breathe easier.