Noisy Breathing: When to Be Concerned

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It can be difficult to determine if your child’s breathing is normal or something more concerning. While concerning breathing should always be diagnosed and treated by a medical professional, the American Academy of Pediatrics has some notes on what to look out for.

  • What can noisy breathing mean?
    • Congestion
      • Significant nasal congestion can cause noisy breathing
    • Bronchiolitis
      • The most common cause of this under the age of 2 is RSV
    • Asthma
      • Recurrent episodes of wheezing
      • The main cause of noisy breathing after age 2
    • Foreign object
      • Sudden onset of noisy breathing, coughing, and/or choking
      • Peak age for this is 1 to 4 years of age
      • Seek medical attention right away!
  • When to be concerned
    • Difficulty breathing, blue color of the lips and/or face, inability to cry
    • Sudden change in your child’s level of consciousness
    • If you are concerned your child may be choking on a foreign body (food/candy, a toy, etc.)

As always, if you have any concerns about your child’s breathing, please contact your pediatrician or healthcare provider right away. Here are some links from the American Academy of Pediatrics:


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