How Do I Know if It Is Wheezing in Children?

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You have been hearing your child making audible sounds as she is trying to breathe. It sounds like she is "whistling" with her breath.This sound is called "wheezing," meaning her airway may be partially blocked. She has other symptoms and complains that she can't breathe. You need to call her doctor to find out what is going on, so you can help her feel better and relieve her symptoms.

Breathing Sound is Audible

  • When your child has cold or allergy symptoms, if you also hear a high-pitched whistling sound as she is trying to exhale and inhale, this is "wheezing." Your child is struggling to push air out of her lungs and get air back into her lungs, and because her airway has gotten swollen she is wheezing.

    If you hear this sound, you need to contact his pediatrician right away, so he can undergo an examination. If the doctor is not available, take him to the emergency room, and let the staff know your child is wheezing. Make a list of all of her symptoms, whether cold or allergy, along with other symptoms.

Accompanies Other Symptoms

  • Sounds of wheezing will come along with other symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath. Make note of times your child has awakened at night, short of breath, wheezing and coughing. Ask your child if her chest feels tight--as if she can't draw enough breath in. She may complain that her chest feels "funny" or that it hurts.

    She may not wheeze all the time--only when she is exhibiting other symptoms. She may be fine during the day; then, after she encounters something that triggers her symptoms, she will start to cough, wheeze or feel short of breath. Something as simple as prolonged laughter, yelling or crying could trigger an episode. You can talk to her doctor about having your daughter tested for possible asthma.

Can Get Worse

  • If you notice wheezing, it means his airway may be partially blocked and you need to alert his doctor to his symptoms. It may mean he has asthma, or it could also mean that he has a respiratory infection. If he does not have medication (inhaler or nebulizer), call his doctor. If he does have these medications and his wheezing doesn't improve, take him to his doctor for an exam.

    Teach your child to recognize situations that could set off his symptoms, such as wheezing, so he can take action to prevent them.

    If your child has been experiencing a prolonged period of wheezing, then suddenly stops, this does not mean he is recovering from his asthma attack. This is a signal that his respiratory system is shutting down, and you need to get him to emergency care immediately.

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