Wheezing In Your Child - Causes, Signs & Home Remedies
Created by Harleen Gupta Updated on Sep 01, 2018
An ailing child is a mother's nightmare. One cough, or a tiny sneeze is enough to drive a mother paranoid. And then come the sleepless nights. Cold, cough, flu and viral infections are all common among young children because of their low levels of immunity.However, there are some conditions that we must not ignore. One of these is wheezing. Though pretty common and easily treatable, wheezing is one sign you must pay attention to. Read on to find out about wheezing, and what you must do if your child faces this issue.
What Is Wheezing?
Simply put, wheezing is a sort of whistling sound that comes when you breathe. It generally occurs when the airways become narrow due to inflammation or a buildup of mucus in them. The sound is more prominent when a child exhales but when wheezing gets serious, the sound is audible even when the child inhales. Also remember, wheezing is a sign, not a disease in itself. Wheezing is noticed with asthma sometimes. However, not all children who have asthma wheeze, and wheezing episodes do not always indicate the presence of asthma.
What Causes Wheezing In Toddlers?
When the airway gets narrow, the air makes a sound while coming out or going in depending on how serious the condition is. In case there are other symptoms combined with wheezing, you must take your little one to doctor immediately. The airways of your child could get narrow due to the following reasons.
- Swelling: When airways swell up, the linings get narrow
- Croup: This can cause a hoarse cough
- Bronchospasm: When the muscle within the lining of the airway contracts and constricts them
- Excessive mucus: Excessive secretion of mucus can narrow down the airways. This can be due to cold
- Foreign object: In case your little one inhales any small particle or object (which they definitely can). Choking can be quite serious and needs immediate medical attention
- Tumor: Abnormal growth or tumors could also cause blockage or narrowing of airways
- Illness or allergy: Respiratory Tract Infection, pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, reaction to smoke can all cause wheezing
What Are The Symptoms Of Wheezing In Children?
Although it is best to let the doctor diagnose the problem, some common symptoms and signs of wheezing that can be easily recognized are.
- Whistling sound while breathing
- Labored or heavy breathing
- Tightening feeling in the chest
- Shortness of breath/difficulty in breathing
Wheezing Treatment For Children
Wheezing is very common among children, especially toddlers. Almost one in three kids would have had a bout of wheezing at least once before their third birthday. There are easy treatments available for wheezing, and your doctor can easily diagnose and treat it. The treatment for wheezing associated illness has to cater to two problems: Narrow airways and tightened breathing tubes, for which the doctor would recommend the following.
- Anti-inflammatory medicines: To minimize the inflammation and narrowed airways, the pediatrician will recommend anti-inflammatory medications for your child so that the blocked or narrowed airways can be opened up and the whistling sound can reduce. These medications will also help reduce the excessive mucus. Generally, the doctor will prescribe syrups in case of toddlers. But for quick relief, you may be advised to nebulize your child. Never give your child any over the counter medicine on your own
- Expectorants or inhalers: Your child's pediatrician will recommend an expectorant in case your child in non-asthmatic. In case of asthmatic children, doctors will suggest inhalers. This is to open up the blockages in the breathing tubes and allow sufficient air to pass through and relax the muscles lining the tubes for a fast relief
How To Control Wheezing With Home Remedies?
Here are some home remedies that you can try if your child has a bout of wheezing. An episode of wheezing can irritate your child, and affects the way he sleeps. Try these remedies to soothe your child.
- Humidifier/air purifier: There is a high possibility that your child is wheezing due to allergy or air dryness. Using air purifiers and humidifiers at home will help as dry air worsens the cough
- Steam: Run the shower for a long time until there is steam all over the bathroom and make your child sit in there. This will help in clearing out and opening the airways
- Warm liquids: If you have a toddler, serve him soups and warm fluids that have the dual benefit of hydrating the body as well as easing breathing difficulties
- Stop smoking: Ask everyone in the house to quit or abstain from smoking around your baby. Tobacco fumes make breathing difficult for children, and aggravate cough
- Dusting: Clean all surfaces in your house and use a vacuum cleaner to remove any possible dust that could increase wheezing. Keep your baby away from dust and pollen
- Pets away: Keep the pets away from the child as much as possible. Tiny hair can get into airways and block them. Pets and dust both contain allergens that could make it difficult for your child to breathe
- No carpets: Avoid using any carpets or flooring that could trap dust particles in the house
The aim is to keep tiny particles away from the air your child breathes in. This way you can prevent the wheezing from getting worse.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Wheezing?
Most people feel that wheezing often leads to asthma, although that is not the truth. An episode of wheezing does not mean a child is prone to or already has asthma. Wheezing is caused due to obstruction in the airways, and goes most likely with some simple home remedies or medicines as prescribed by the doctor. Children often suffer from mild episodes of wheezing during change of seasons, and cough and cold episodes.
Incase, there is no relief in wheezing If the intensity of wheezing continues to grow, you must take your child to the doctor immediately for a checkup.
Did you find this blog on wheezing useful? Share your feedback with us in the comments section!
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Has your little one been spending sleepless nights because of wheezing? If you want to know more about respiratory infections in childhood and what causes a wheeze, check out this article. https://www.parentcircle.com/article/wheezing-in-children-25-things-to-know-about-this-respiratory-infection/
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