If respiratory problems occur suddenly, you should call your child’s doctor immediately or take them to the nearest emergency room. You should also contact your child’s doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Shallow coughing
- A severe cough followed by a “whooping” sound
- Coughing up a sticky substance from the lungs (mucus)
Respiratory (breathing) problems in children can be frightening for parents. In many cases, these problems are caused by infections that can be treated. In fact, respiratory infections are quite common in children attending daycare or school. These infections are often caused by viruses your child gets from other sick children or adults. You can usually manage these respiratory infections at home.
Infections that occur in the nose, throat, sinuses, and ears are called upper respiratory tract infections. Infections in the lungs are known as lower respiratory tract infections.
Some respiratory illnesses in children can be serious and require medical treatment. These infections include:
- Bronchitis [brong-kahy-tis]
- Respiratory syncytial [sin-sish-uhl] virus (RSV)
- Influenza (the “flu”)
- Pneumonia [noo-mohn-yuh]
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
- Tuberculosis [too-bur-kyuh-loh-sis]
Immunization programs are very effective in preventing some childhood respiratory infections, including influenza and pertussis. Other respiratory infections are difficult to prevent.Pediatric respiratory problems can also be chronic (long term). Asthma and cystic fibrosis are examples of chronic respiratory diseases in children. These diseases often require long-term management and care.
Intermountain Healthcare provides comprehensive respiratory care services to children of all ages. Each patient is assigned a health care team that includes a respiratory care practitioner, respiratory therapist, and respiratory care nurses. Some of the services our team provides include:
- Ventilation (using a machine to help your child breathe)
- Oximetry (measuring the amount of oxygen in your child’s blood)
- Aerosol therapy (delivering medicine to your child’s lungs)
- Oxygen therapy (helping your child breathe better by giving them extra oxygen)