Respiratory Problems in Children

Bronchitis & Asthma: Symptoms, Cause & Treatment   

There are many types of respiratory problems that affect children, especially those under 5 years of age. Most children develop at least 3-7 episodes of respiratory illnesses every year. Acute respiratory problems like common cold and upper respiratory tract infections can be easily treated. However, serious conditions that children develop are asthma and pneumonia or bronchitis, which may require hospitalization in some cases.  

Symptoms of Asthma in Children

Asthma is a chronic respiratory problem with acute exacerbation of the attacks. Children with asthma have sensitive, easily irritated airways in their lungs. When exposed to viruses, second hand smoke, allergens like pollen, dust, cold air or pollutants, the airways become inflamed producing increased mucus, mucosal swelling and muscle contractions. This leads to narrowing of the airway, which causes high-pitched wheezing, coughing, difficulty in breathing and tightness of chest. Asthma in children causes the airways of the lungs to go into spasms.

Asthma symptoms vary from child to child. However possible signs and symptoms of asthma in children include:

  • Frequent cough that usually occurs while playing, at night, or while crying or laughing
  • At times only chronic cough on breathing out may be present
  • Low energy while playing
  • Breathing that is rapid
  • Complains of chest tightening
  • Wheezing, which is a whistling sound while breathing out
  • Shortness or loss of breath
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Feeling fatigued

Asthma in children require close follow-up with their doctors so that the condition is kept under control. Medications should be taken so that the asthma symptoms clear up and no permanent lung damage occurs.

Asthma treatment includes:

  • Controller Medicines: In this treatment, medications are used over long term to help control the swelling of the airway in children. Controller medicines are given to children on an everyday basis, even if they are feeling well.
  • Reliever Medicines: In this treatment, medications are used for immediate relief during an asthma attack or when a child is experiencing asthma symptoms. Reliever medicines act quickly in relaxing the airways, relieving cough and wheeze and in helping the child breathe.

If your child develops any of the following symptoms, then they should be taken to the doctor immediately:

  • Wheezing
  • Wheezing that does not improve even after using asthma medication
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • If the lip and nail bed of the child turns bluish

Bronchitis in Children

An infection or inflammation of the large air passages (also known as bronchi) in the lungs is called bronchitis. When children have a cold, flu, sinus infection or sore throat, the virus that causes it can spread to the bronchi. Once this happens, the airways become swollen and inflamed and partly blocked with mucus. Children can develop acute bronchitis or chronic bronchitis.

Apart from viral infections, bronchitis in children can also be caused by bacterial infections, irritants and allergies such as smoke, fumes, dust and pollen. Symptoms include wheeze, cough, difficulty in breathing and fever. Bronchitis treatment includes antibiotic only if it is caused by a bacterial infection. If it is caused by viral infection then your doctor will prescribe medication and bronchitis management tips for bronchitis treatment. Usually this is diagnosed by blood tests and chest x-ray.

Other Respiratory Problems in Children

Other respiratory problems in children include cold, flu, croup and bronchiolitis. These are common particularly in children in school. Uncomplicated respiratory infections usually last up to two weeks in children.

What are the common symptoms of uncomplicated respiratory problems in children?

  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Hoarseness of voice
  • Fever
  • Coughing and lymph nodes that are swollen

However, do look for the following symptoms and if present seek medical attention immediately:

  • Breathing that is rapid
  • Wheezing
  • High fever
  • Stridor which is a raspy and harsh vibrating sound heard when breathing in

Children are always at a health risk of developing respiratory problems like asthma, bronchitis, cold, flu, sore throat, croup and many such infections. Thus for information, care or treatment for numerous respiratory problems in children contact our health care providers at Columbia Asia Hospital now. Our hospitals are across India. You can find us in cities like Bangalore, Mysore, Gurgaon, Patiala, Ahmedabad, Ghaziabad, Kolkata and Pune.

Tags: Bronchitis, Asthma Treatment, Asthma Symptoms, Respiratory Problems In Children, Symptoms of Asthma, Acute, Wheezing, Cough, Croup, Bronchiolitis, Symptoms, Treatment, Cold, Flu, Pollen, Viral, Bacterial, Infections

Tags: Respiratory problems , children , Bronchitis , Asthma , Causes and treatment , breathing problems


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