Epiglottitis is inflammation of the epiglottis, which is the flap that sits at the base of the tongue, which keeps food from going into the trachea (windpipe). Due to its place in the airway, swelling of this can interfere with breathing and can set up a medical emergency.
Epiglottitis usually happens in children. It can be accompanied with fever, problems swallowing, drooling, and stridor. In children, it must always be considered a medical emergency requiring urgent treatment in an emergency room at a hospital.