Written by Editorial Team
As much as it affects everyday activities in adults, breathing problems are equally traumatizing for children too. Unlike adults, children develop a sense of fear of suffocation when they suffer from breathing problems. Hence parents have to be extremely cautious with the child’s lifestyle and eating habits when they suffer from such conditions. Breathlessness and other breathing problems have varying stages and phases and are caused due to various reasons for each individual. Most of the time it is just because of anxiety and stress and in some cases, it could be due to some serious problems which will need medical intervention immediately. Here, we have listed out some of the causes of breathing problems in children, signs, and symptoms to look out for and treatments that can be given for the condition.
There can be various reasons and causes for breathing problems in children which can be classified into temporary and long-term problems.
Some of the long-term causes of breathing problems are;
Some of the temporary causes of breathing problems are;
Apart from the above-mentioned causes, there are some respiratory problems that children face which will require immediate attention and medical intervention for its cure. Some of the conditions which require regular medical treatment.
In this aspect, the breathing issue in children is broadly divided into:
Upper respiratory tract refers to the nose, mouth, sinuses, and throat. Any issues connected with these parts can bring about breathing problems in children.
Lower respiratory tract refers to the windpipe (trachea), bronchi and lungs. Any issues connected with these parts can bring about breathing problems in children.
As the immunity of the children is not fully developed, they are prone to infections.
The main cause of infection in children that bring about breathing issues are:
Bacterial infections very common in the upper respiratory tract. Sinus infection and tonsillitis are typical examples of upper respiratory tract bacterial infection that bring about breathing issues in children. Even though not that common, tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that affects the lower respiratory tract.
Viral infection is the main cause of most of the upper respiratory tract infections. Examples are cold, sore throat, flu, etc. More often, these infections are not serious and will go away (maximum) in a week. Viral infections that affect the lower respiratory tract include bronchitis and pneumonia. In such instances, the child may develop a serious blockage in their airways and will be in need of hospitalization for treatment.
All the breathing issue in the children are not always due to infections. Other reasons include:
Age is not a barrier to contracting asthma. Asthma can start at any age. However, more often than not, it starts during childhood. Wheezing and shortness of breath is the characteristic sign of Asthma. It intensifies with the severity of asthma.
Allergies are a common cause of the respiratory issue in children. More often different types of allergies trigger asthmatic symptoms as well. Most common allergies in children are an allergy to mold, dander, dust, smoke, and pet’s hair. Allergies can bring about sneezing, either watery nose or stuffy nose in children. This will adversely affect their normal breathing.
Congenital or other heart issues like arrhythmias (disturbances in heart rhythm) can also bring about breathing issues in children.
Cystic fibrosis is a serious inherited disease which mainly affects the lungs and pancreas. A persistent cough, wheeze, repeated chest infections are the important signs of this disease and it brings about breathing problems in children.
The symptoms of breathing difficulties are quite easy to notice. When you see such signs or symptoms, it is best to seek medical help immediately.
1. Choking on food or other objects when suffering from breathing issues
2. Continuous wheezing even after medication
3. Gasping for breath
4. Taking rapid breaths each time
5. Vomiting and fever while suffering from breathing difficulty
6. Worsening of a cough and cold
7. Coughing up of blood due to overexertion
8. Lips turning blue during breathlessness
9. Nostrils flaring up in each breath
10. If the breathing issue is accompanied by a high fever
When a child is suffering from breathing difficulties it is extremely traumatizing for the parents as well as the child. The best decision would be to visit a pulmonologist and begin treatment for the problem as soon as possible.
Before beginning treatment, the doctor may suggest taking some tests to diagnose the cause of the problem. Some of the tests may include – CT scans, Chest X-rays, physically examining the child, lab tests to check for the functioning condition of lungs, allergy tests to determine if the child is allergic to any objects or food. Once these tests are done, based on the reports, the doctor may suggest a suitable treatment based on the diagnosis.
It is easy to notice signs and symptoms especially of breathing difficulties because it will be very clearly visible on the child’s face when he or she is suffocating to breathe normally. Hence, you will need to keep a watch for such signs if you think your child is suffering from breathing difficulties. Below are some of the signs that can be noticed;
Although it cannot be completely prevented owing to the change in lifestyle, the impact of breathing problems can certainly be reduced or prevented from reoccurring with some simple tips. Here are some tips to prevent breathing problems from reoccurring in children if practiced religiously;
With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.
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