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Chest Infection In Toddlers – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatments

4 min read

You will feel extremely bad to hear the wheezing sound coming from your toddler’s chest, notice that your little one is putting much effort to breathe and is becoming fussy while eating food. He will feel tired and exhausted all day, due to lack of proper sleep. A blocked and runny nose, giving way to fever and noisy breating can make you press all your attention to your child.Giving all the attention to your child and considering how to take care of the situation may drain the last drop of your energy.
Chest Infection
It is quite natural that lots of question will bother you concerning your toddler’s health, such as:

What Is A Chest Infection?

Viruses and bacteria which get inside the body through different means will get deposited in the tissue of the lungs and multiply, causing chest infection. If a chst infection affects your child’s larger airways, it is known as bronchitis and if the virus affects your child’s smaller air sacs, it is known as pneumonia. The common chest infections seen in toddlers are:

  1. Bronchitis: Bronchitis is a common and less serious type of chest infection. The lining of the tubes leading from throat to lungs (trachea and bronchi) get infected by the virus causing pain in the throat and the upper chest when your child coughs
  2. Pneumonia: Pneumonia is a relatively serious type of chest infection caused by bacteria and is dangerous if not treated in time. The air sac of the lungs get inflamed and fill with fluids, affecting the elasticity of the lungs, thus making it difficult for your child to breathe

What Are The Symptoms Of A Chest Infection In Toddlers?

Nowadays, cough is common in toddlers. Coughing is a process by which the body removes foreign particles and mucus from the lungs. Since the toddlers are exposed to different circumstances, normally there is no need to worry about a cough. But, if it persists for more than two weeks and if it is accompanied by temperature and a wheezing sound in their chest, you can always doubt for a chest infection. The most common symptoms of chest infection in toddlers are:

  • Persistent cough and fever
  • Wheezing and difficulty breathing
  • Interrupted sleep
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Loss of appetite and vomiting
  • Pain in the chest and the abdominal region

Sick toddler in bed

What Are The Causes Of A Chest Infection In Toddlers?

There are numerous factors which can lead to chest infection, such as:

  • Whether changes: Respiratory diseases are found to be increased in children during extreme climatic conditions such as heat waves and extremely cold winters. Viruses and bacteria causing respiratory problems tend to spread during monsoon season
  • Low immunity level: Immunity level of a toddler is low compared to a big child. This will always put them in a position of getting infected easily
  • Exposure to air pollution: Higher the pollution level, chances are more for your child to catch respiratory problems. Inhaling tobacco smoke will put your child at a risk of developing bronchitis. Exposure to second-hand smoking regularly will lead to a prolonged chest infection
  • Allergies: If he develops chest infection every time you takes him to a particular place or if he caught infection during the same season every year, it is time to consider about the allergies your baby might have. Allergies to house dust mites, molds, pet animal’s fur or hair, pollen of some plants, etc. are seen to be reasons behind the intermittent respiratory problems in children
  • Common cold: Children are more likely to catch a cold because they are likely to come in contact with one of more than two hundred varieties of viruses causing common cold which spread through the air and by direct contact with infected persons. In some cases, it is seen that chest infectious diseases such as bronchitis, influenza etc. are seen to be develop after common cold, which is largely a usual condition in children. This is because, after fighting off the virus causing the cold, the immune system of your child will be temporarily weakened giving a chance to the germs to get deposited and multiply in the lung tissue causing chest infections. Asthmatic attacks are also seen worse with cold

How Can Chest Infection In Toddlers Be Treated?

Mild chest infections can be treated at home. Don’t give antibiotics and cough syrups without consulting the doctor. When the child develops more symptoms as time pass and shows severe breathing problems, it is time for you to consult your child’s pediatrician. You can take some steps at home that will help your child to minimize the discomfort due to chest infection like:

  • Raise your child’s head with extra pillows while sleeping to make him breathe easier
  • Using a humidifier in the room will help your child get a good sleep. It will help to moisturize your baby’s nasal tract. Pour two drops of eucalyptus to the water
  • Inhaling steam is another tip to ease your child’s discomfort and irritation due to the chest infection. For this, you can make him sit in the bathroom after closing the door and opening the hot shower (making sure the water won’t reach him). It will help to loosen your child’s blocked air path
  • Nebulizing will help clear the chest of your child. Read more about Nebulizers here
  • Boil milk with a pinch of turmeric (which has anti-inflammatory, anti-virus and anti-bacterial property). Giving lukewarm turmeric milk is a good home remedy for the chest infection

Prevention is always better than cure. Hygiene is a prime factor that helps to prevent disease-causing germs from getting into your child’s body. Practicing and teaching your child good hygiene is important. Make your house and the car in which you travel with your child a nonsmoking zone.

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