How to know if your child is suffering from breathing difficulties?

Dr Himani Narula Khanna
3 to 7 years

Created by Dr Himani Narula Khanna
Updated on Apr 10, 2020

How to know if your child is suffering from breathing difficulties
Reviewed by Expert panel

If your child is not breathing properly, it could be due to a blocked nose – and this means your child is getting less oxygen, which in turn can lead to a host of other health problems. After all, the body needs the right amount of oxygen to replenish the brain and other organs with vital nutrients. You may wonder why your child is catching frequent infections or constantly suffering from poor health – and the answer may well be because s/he is not breathing right!


Now you may ask, ‘how do I know whether my child is breathing right or not?’ Let’s start with this – put a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to each of the questions below:

  • Is your child drawing in breath from the mouth?
  • Is your child coughing intermittently?
  • Is your child’s nose flaring up (widening of the nostrils) as s/he breathes?
  • Is your child heaving (chest going up /down) harder with every inhale/exhale?
  • Is your child suffering from disturbed sleep and stays drowsy through the day?
  • Is your child’s breathing accompanied by a wheezing or a whistling sound?
  • Is your child’s nose watering?
  • Is your child complaining of an itch in the nose?


If you’ve put a ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, your child could be suffering from breathing difficulties. Here are 5 home remedies that could ease the situation:

  1. Use a nasal aspirator to remove excess mucus from your child’s nasal passages.
  2. Steam inhalation works wonders. You may run a hot shower in a closed bathroom and sit with your child in this steamed-up space for 10-20 minutes.
  3. Keep your child well hydrated with plenty of oral fluids.
  4. Use a cold mist humidifier in your child’s room during night time.
  5. You may use a nasal spray to relieve the nose block (especially at night) to help your child sleep comfortably.


Try the above remedies for a week – if you feel there is some relief, continue till the problem has disappeared completely. If there is no relief, it is time to take an appointment with a doctor. Do not wait or try any remedies of your own, if you notice these danger signs:


  • If nasal congestion has been present for longer than 2 weeks 
  • If your child is running fever
  • If your child has a persistent cough
  • If your child is breathing heavy or breathing fast
  • If your child is suffering from discomfort or pain in the ear


Rush your child to the emergency if s/he seems out of breath or is having difficulty while talking or eating or if you notice a change in the colour of skin (skin takes on a blue hue due to lack of oxygen).


Did you find the information given by Dr Himani Khanna useful? Have you noticed your child suffering from any of the above-mentioned signs that indicate breathing difficulty? What do you do in such a situation? Do write in (in the comments section below) – and support fellow parents dealing with similar situations.


Disclaimer: A special initiative powered by  Otrivin  to help you breathe easy. Always use as directed on pack

This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

  • 8
Comments ()
Kindly Login or Register to post a comment.

| Apr 10, 2017

very useful Blog Dr. Himani! thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
  • Report

| Apr 11, 2017

very useful information .. thank u so much for sharing..

  • Reply
  • Report

| Apr 11, 2017

thanku so much

  • Reply
  • Report

| Apr 11, 2017

very useful information. thank you

  • Reply
  • Report

| Apr 11, 2017

very useful information. Thanks alot for sharing the same.

  • Reply
  • Report

| Apr 12, 2017

  • Reply
  • Report

| Apr 13, 2017

Thank you doctor. very common headache for every mother I think

  • Reply
  • Report

| Apr 26, 2017


  • Reply
  • Report
+ Start A Blog

Top Health Blogs

Ambili S Kartha

Featured Mombassador


Ask your queries to Doctors & Experts

Download APP