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Prevention of epiglottitis can be achieved with proper vaccination against H influenza type b (Hib). It is important that children are vaccinated against Hib. Adult vaccination is not routinely recommended, except for people with immune-related medical conditions such as sickle cell anemia, splenectomy, cancers, or other diseases affecting the immune system.
When there is a member of a family with an unvaccinated child under age 4 years of age who is exposed to a person with H influenza epiglottitis, preventive medication such as rifampin, (Rifadin) should be given to all household contacts to make sure that both the person with the illness and the rest of the household have the bacteria completely eradicated from their bodies. This prevents formation of a "carrier state" in which a person has the bacteria in the body but is not actively sick. Carriers can still spread the infection to other family members even though they are not ill.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/26/2016
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