Wheezing, what is it and when should we be concerned?
When a high-pitched sound occurs when breathing, this is wheezing. Is about an asthmatic symptom that is common in children younger than 5 years old. In fact, according to the journal Pediatrics Primary Care (PAP) it is one of the most frequent consultations and must be diagnosed promptly, since “the delay in starting treatment can have a great impact on the long-term health of the patient.
The important is inform parents about those symptoms that should alert them to inform the pediatrician as soon as possible. Although most wheezing is not serious, there are some that are and others that, without treatment, can cause certain problems as children continue to age. Therefore, it is useful to know when wheezing should be a concern.
What is wheezing?
As we have already mentioned, wheezing is a series of high-pitched whistles that appear when children breathe in and out. This indicates that “the airways are partially obstructed or narrowed”, as stated in the MSD Manual. The causes can be diverse.
From an inflammation of the tissues of the airways, to bronchospasm or accumulation of mucus. We must be clear that these episodes are quite frequent, but it is important to know the causes that are causing the wheezing, in case it is serious.
Risk factors for wheezing
Not all children under 5 years of age suffer from wheezing and there are some risk factors that must be taken into account. Have frequent lung infections, have allergies, or have been diagnosed with asthma are some of them. However, there are also others that should not be lost sight of.
The MSD Manual mentions chronic difficulty swallowing, gastroesophageal reflux or the presence of a foreign body as other risk factors wheezing. Many children eat quickly or do not chew food well, which increases the risk of choking.
When should we worry about wheezing?
While wheezing is generally safe, it is important to know how to treat it and to pay attention to those that need urgent attention right away. Yes high-pitched whistles are accompanied by a sinking chest when breathing, you have to seek help, as it may be pneumonia.
Also be alert if children begin to breathe in a much more agitated way, very fast. Maybe it’s bronchiolitis or some other lung condition. It is important that this is taken care of immediately to avoid putting the life and health of the little ones at risk.
Although most wheezing is not serious, it should be treated. Well, if a child has asthma and it does not receive treatment structural changes in the airways may occur that limit gas exchange. Therefore, going to the pediatrician is essential, although options are being considered.
WheezeScan is a device that helps parents detect wheezing, as they are not all the same and can cause misunderstandings. However, doctors can also help parents learn to distinguish between them. The important thing? Be attentive to any whistling or sound that children make when breathing, the cough that usually accompanies and the fever that may appear.