Does your child suffer from a runny nose? Does she suffer from a loss of appetite? If you nodded along solemnly, you might want to read our post. Here, we talk about chest infections and how they affect children.
What Is A Chest Infection?
A Chest Infection can either manifest itself as pneumonia or bronchitis. Pneumonia affects the air sacs while bronchitis inflames the mucous membrane the bronchial tubes. Bronchitis can lead to spasms, cough, and restricted breathing. (1)
What Causes Chest Infections In Children:
Chest infections typically occur due to bacteria or viruses. Pneumonia occurs due to a bacterium, and bronchitis occurs due to a virus. Sometimes, fungal infections can also lead to chest infections.
Symptoms Of Chest Infection In Children:
Chest infections typically begin with a cold, which progresses to a heavy cold and cough. The main signs of chest infection in children that you need to look out for include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Loss of appetite
- Dry cough
After a few days the symptoms worsen, and can lead to:
- Persistent cough
- Difficulty in breathing
- Heartbeat rate increases
- Completely stops feeding
[ Read: Symptoms Of Loss Of Appetite In Children ]
When Should I Take My Child To A Doctor?
If you are not sure whether your child is suffering from a normal cold or a chest infection, consult your doctor. If the symptoms of cold or cough persist, she may suffer from a chronic chest infection or Bronchitis. In most cases, bronchitis symptoms get better with time. However, if you notice that your child suffers longer than normal, consult your doctor. Contact your doctor right away if you notice that your child has the following symptoms:
- Appetite dropped drastically and has had less than half his usual consumption of food and milk over the past 48 hours
- Shows signs of dehydration
- Sleepy and lethargic
- Persistent dry to moist cough
Severe cases of bronchitis can cause difficulties in breathing. Watch out for these breathing symptoms and take your child to the hospital right away if she:
- Has wheezing
- Has flared nostrils
- If her nails turn blue due to lack of oxygen
- If she is breathing faster than 60 breaths in a minute
- If she stops breathing or takes larger gulps of air
[ Read: Types Of Fungal Infections In Children ]
Treating Chest Infection In Children:
Most cases of children chest infections and specifically bronchitis get better within a week or two. In mild cases, you can follow some simple home treatments that can cure a common cold. Here are some simple home remedies:
- Encourage your child to drink a lot of milk and consume dairy products. It will give his body strength to fight infection and also help prevent dehydration. It will also help reduce fever if your child develops a fever during the infection.
- Paracetamol or Ibuprofen in smaller concentrations can help reduce fever, relieve sore throat, and bring down chest congestion. It improves her breathing and makes her feel better. Check for the dosage concentration on the packet. If you aren’t sure about the dose, contact your doctor.
- If your child has a stuffy nose and finds it difficult to breathe, try keeping her up in an upright position while she is eating. You could also use saline nasal drops, which will clear her nasal passage and improve her breathing. Saline nasal drops are available at most pharmacies.
- Steam inhalation is a traditional remedy for nasal congestion. You can either use a steam sauna or a steam inhaler with some vapor rub. It will help relieve his chest congestion, cough and clear her nasal passage.
Do not give your child over the counter cough and cold medicine if your child is under six years of age, as these drugs can have side effects.
If your child has a severe chest infection or bronchitis, or if he does not recover with the home remedies, consult your doctor for further treatment. The doctor might recommend her a nebulizer to help him breathe.
[ Read: Blood Infection In Children ]
Side Effects Of Chest Infection:
The most common worry for all parents is the side effects or complications that bronchitis can lead to. Well, don’t panic, as bronchitis isn’t a serious condition. However, wheezing or asthma can be chronic conditions. In rare cases, children develop pneumonia. Children with existing lung or heart conditions find it more difficult to pass through bronchitis.
Preventing Chest Infection In Children:
How do you prevent chest infections in children? Is it possible to prevent a recurrence of bronchitis? All you need to do is follow these steps below.
Follow these steps to prevent chest infection in kids:
- It is important you maintain good hygiene. You must watch out for the places you visit or the places your child visits. Also, watch out for the kind of people you come in contact with. Always make it a point to wash your hands with a disinfectant after you return home and ensure your child does it too after he comes from school or play. Maintaining a good hygiene and keeping her away from the polluted air can keep her from contracting airborne chest infections.
- Napkins or tissues should be used only once and discarded, to prevent further recurrence of bronchitis. Also, make sure your bathrooms are cleaned and regularly disinfected so that your child does not contract any airborne infection. Most children, who develop bronchitis at a younger age, develop asthma at an older stage. Get her a flu shot. It will prevent Influenza and secondary infections.
- If you or your partner smoke, keep your child away from the smoke, as cigarette smoke can easily lead to bronchitis.
- If someone in your house suffers from a cold and cough, it’s best to keep your child away so that you can protect her from the infection. No known vaccine is available for Bronchitis, but palivizumab is a medication that helps reduce the symptoms of bronchitis.
Did your child ever suffer from a chest infection? Does she have bronchitis? What have you done about it? Tell us about it below.
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