Wheezing In Toddlers – Causes, Symptoms And Home Remedies

5 min read

Is your toddler making harsh whistling noise while breathing and is he finding it quite difficult to breathe? This could indicate wheezing. You don’t have to get anxious or worried as it is a common condition in children. Keep reading to know Wheezing In Toddlers – Causes, Symptoms And Home Remedies.
wheezing in toddlers

What Is Wheezing?
Causes Of Wheezing In Toddlers
All Wheezing Is Usually Not Asthma
Symptoms Of Wheezing In Toddlers
Treatment For Wheezing In Toddlers
10 Effective Home Remedies To Deal With Wheezing In Toddlers

What Is Wheezing?

Wheezing is a condition in which a child finds it difficult to breathe. Wheezing usually accompanies with a high pitched whistling sound. If your child is suffering from severe cold and cough, then it can block the smaller airways causing the wheezing. But, most of the times, there is nothing to panic. Wheezing is quite common in babies and toddlers. Basically, there are two types of wheezing.

  1. Persistent Wheezing: This is something that goes on for a long period due to genetic issues or allergy related factors
  2. Transient Wheezing: This is a condition that is normally caused when your child is suffering from some kind of inflammation and gets better once the inflammation subsides

Continue reading to understand Wheezing In Toddlers – Causes, Symptoms And Home Remedies

Causes Of Wheezing In Toddlers

  • Anatomic factors: Anatomic factors play an important role in causing wheezing in children. This includes a cartilage that is quite weak inside the larynx or windpipe. This can be cleared easily with proper medications
  • Pneumonia: When your little toddler gets exposed to some kind of micro-organisms, they easily contract an infection in the lungs that can lead to pneumonia. Wheezing, congestion, severe coughing and appetite loss are all common indications of this issue
  • Swallowing an object: Toddlers often swallow some tiny toy or object that can get stuck inside the throat and lead to obstruction and choking. This can cause the child to cough continuously and wheeze and is a case that requires immediate medical attention Read: What To Do If Your Child Swallows A Coin?
  • Croup: This is a condition where the larynx or trachea is inflamed making your toddler cough very harshly. It normally affects children under five years and can also cause wheezing
  • Allergies: This is a very common trigger for most wheezing attacks. One of the most common allergies that small kids develop is allergy to milk and milk products, nuts, wheat, etc and can trigger wheezing.
  • Bronchitis: This is actually an infection in the chest that obstructs oxygen flow triggering wheezing in toddlers. There are two types of Bronchitis namely bronchiolitis obliterans and viral. The latter is more prevalent in toddlers and babies. While a mild infection can get cleared by itself, a more serious attack requires immediate medical attention. Ensure that your baby is well hydrated and keep a humidifier with moist air in his room to provide relief

All Wheezing Is Usually Not Asthma

Wheezing accompanied with cough are common when toddlers have severe colds and chest infections. But this usually does not mean they have asthma. As toddlers tend to get a lot of colds and have narrower airways, it is often difficult to tell whether toddlers have asthma. Not all toddlers who have wheezing attacks will develop asthma and not all toddlers who have asthma wheeze.
Most pediatricians do not diagnose asthma in babies below 12 months of age as the muscles around the airways in the lungs have matured. Sometimes, in order to see how the symptoms respond to the treatment, a lot of doctors prescribe asthma medicine.

Symptoms Of Wheezing In Toddlers

Some of the common symptoms of wheezing in toddlers are:

  • Labored breathing specially while exhaling
  • Whistling sound while exhaling
  • Pain or tightening of chest
  • Frequent intermittent coughing

Treatment For Wheezing In Toddlers

Suppose wheezing is caused by any of the above mentioned factors, it is imperative that you consult the doctor at once. Normal treatment includes medications that consist of a

  • Course of antibiotics
  • Nasal sprays
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Antihistamine medications
  • Bronchodilators
  • Corticosteroids

10 Effective Home Remedies To Deal With Wheezing In Toddlers

You can also try out these tested and effective home remedies for treating wheezing in toddlers. This includes:

Steam Inhalation

This is a wonderful home remedy that works wonders for wheezing. All you need to do is take your little one to a bathroom filled with steam and close the doors tight. Just sit there for a couple of minutes with your toddler in your lap. By doing so you can bring the wheezing symptoms down to a huge extent. It is ideal to soothe the chest and remove any obstructions in the airway

Breast feeding

This is found to be an effective remedy for wheezing. It has been proven that kids who are breastfed for longer periods say one or two years are less prone to wheezing compared to children who were breastfed for shorter periods.


Keeping your baby well hydrated is extremely important to treat wheezing symptoms. It helps to flush out any kind of infection and germs that are the main causes of wheezing attacks. Fluids including breast milk, water, cows milk all aid in thinning of mucus secretions that automatically help to make breathing easy for your toddler. So ensure that your child is given plenty of fluids, especially warm and filtered water
wheezing in kids


Suppose your toddler has recurrent wheezing,nebulizers are a good option. These nebuizers play an important role in soothing down the muscles that surround the obstructed airway of your child. The good news is that they are much better than medications as they are totally free of any kind of adverse effects too. And the results are instantaneous too


Putting your baby to sleep upright in an elevated position is found to provide relief from congestion to an extent. Positioning a high pillow in order to ensure that the little one’s head remains in an elevated position while sleeping does the trick


Another effective home remedy to deal with wheezing issue in toddlers is the use of turmeric due to its anti-inflammatory properties. You can make a paste with turmeric powder, ghee and black pepper powder and massage it on your child’s chest for quick relief from wheezing

Sesame Oil

Sesame oil is an effective home remedy for wheezing. All you need is  to  add half a teaspoon of asafoetida and sufficient amount of camphor to100 ml of sesame oil. Store this mixture in a bottle and rub it on your toddler’s chest and upper back whenever you feel he is showing symptoms of wheezing

Mustard Oil

Simply heat some mustard oil with camphor and rub it on your toddler’s back and chest. You can do this several times in a day to get effective results

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil is one of the best home remedy for wheezing. It is excellent to treat asthma, chest tightening, sinus congestion, insect bites etc. All you need is put some drops of pure eucalyptus oil on a handkerchief or pillow cover of your toddler and place his head near it. This will not only provide relief from wheezing, but also ensure a good night’s sleep for your toddler

Hot Soups

If your toddler is suffering from wheezing, then feeding him hot soups help in controlling the symptoms and providing relief
Now you get an idea about Wheezing In Toddlers – Causes, Symptoms And Home Remedies. Did your toddler suffer from wheezing? How did you treat it? Do you have any more home remedies to deal with wheezing? Do share it in the comments section below.

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