While taking a breath should be simple, some children struggle with difficulties that make taking in air more challenging. If your child seems to be exhibiting difficulty breathing, an assortment of causes could be at the root of this struggle. By exploring the potential breath-related challenges with which your child is dealing, you can more effectively help him overcome this struggle.
Children who struggle with breathing for only a short period of time are likely suffering from minor congestion. As AskDrSears reports, there are two types of congestion to which infants and children are particularly prone. Nasal congestion or the congestion of the nasal passages is common among infants who are still struggling to get birth-related fluids out of their system, as well as children who are suffering from a cold. Chest congestion, a congestion type that results in breathing that sounds wet in nature, is often the result of a minor cold or flu or, in infants, can be caused by milk regurgitation. Unless they persist, neither of these two congestion types warrant calling the doctor.
Brochniolitis is the leading cause of lower respiratory illness in young infants and a common cause of breathing problems in children, reports the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. This breathing problem occurs when the broncholitis, an airway passage to the lungs, becomes infected. This condition is commonly accompanied by runny nose and cough as well as mild fever. Children who suffer from brochiniolitis experience shortness of breath as well as labored breathing. Generally, this condition clears up without medical intervention; however, if your child is already immuno-compromised, you may need to seek medical attention.
Asthma is a chronic medical condition that impacts many children. As The Palo Alto Medical Foundation reports, asthmatic children suffer from a swelling of the airways that lead to the lungs, making breathing more of a challenge. Children who suffer from asthma are prone to having fits of breathing difficulties, commonly referred to as asthma attacks. Some asthma sufferers also find that their symptoms are increased by outside pollution or irritants. While there is no cure for asthma, with a treatment plan your child’s symptoms can likely be controlled.
While it may seem that all coughs or wheezes are the same, as AskDrSears reports, you can tell much by listening closely to your child’s labored breathing. If your child’s breathing is raspy, for example, or sounds like a bark, it is possible that your child is suffering from croup and requires medical attention. Breathing that is wheezy or consists of high-pitched squeak sounds is more likely the result of the presence of asthma.
If you notice that your child is struggling to breathe a bit, you may want to try allowing your child to breathe steam, as warm water vapor can be quite soothing. Set your child in a bathroom with a hot shower running and encourage him to take the deepest breaths he can manage. If this home treatment does nothing to ease his struggles, you should seek immediate medical attention.