Breathing Problems in Children
Call 911 if your child:
- Is gasping for breath
- Can't cry or talk because of breathing trouble
- Grunts when breathing
- Has blue lips
- May have a small object caught in her throat
- Is breathing very fast (this is also a symptom of fever)
- Looks very sick
Breathing problems are common in young children, but in some cases they can be serious.
Call the Doctor If Your Child:
Call the doctor if:
- Is younger than 1 year old and still has trouble breathing after you cleaned out her nose
- Has bronchiolitis or a reactive airways disease episode
- Has trouble breathing or is breathing very fast when not coughing
- Has severe coughing attacks or continuous coughing
- Is wheezing or making a high-pitched whistle sound when breathing out or in
- Can't take a deep breath because of chest pain or coughed-up blood
- Has a fever that persists
- Flares her nostrils or draws in her chest muscles to breathe
- Is sluggish
- Is vomiting and can't keep fluids down
- Has a cold that gets worse quickly
1. Prevent Dehydration
- Give babies plenty of breast milk or formula.
- Give older children water or juice mixed with water.
- Children may eat more slowly because of breathing problems, so give them plenty of time.
2. Relieve Congestion
- Thin mucus in a stuffy nose with saline nose drops.
- Remove mucus from a baby's nose with a suction bulb.
3. Ease Breathing
- Use a cool-mist humidifier near the child to add moisture to the air.
- Sit in the bathroom with a hot shower running and have your child breathe in the steam.
4. Make the Child Comfortable
- Let the child rest.
- Give children's-formula acetaminophen (Tylenol) to bring down a fever.
- Keep the child away from cigarette smoke.