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Shortness of Breath in Children

What is shortness of breath? What are its causes and symptoms?

Shortness of breath is the feeling of not being able to pass enough air to the lungs. The chest may feel restricted and shortness of breath may feel worse when active or lying down. Individuals experiencing shortness of breath may exhibit symptoms of fever, chest pains, or a cough.

People may suffer shortness of breath for many different reasons. Common medical causes for shortness of breath may include asthma, emphysema, or other lung function issues. Panic attacks, anxiety, chest infections, and pneumonia can also cause shortness of breath.

Shortness of breath can be scary for many people. Uncertainties of what causes shortness of breath or what shortness of breath treatment is available often lead to questions like the ones answered below by Experts.

Is it normal for a 2 month old baby’s finger nail and mouth to turn almost blue, and after drinking formula there is difficulty breathing, almost like the baby has asthma? Does the parent need to take the baby to see a pediatrician?

Sometimes it may be normal for the blue finger nails in a baby to occur. This can happen when the blood is pushed away from the extremities like the hands or feet. This process is called acrocyanosis and is common and quite normal.

However, having shortness of breath combined with other symptoms like blue fingers could have concern with an issue with the heart. The heart defects out there that are major can cause cyanosis and typically will show up in the first couple weeks of life. Other heart conditions that don’t show up until about 6-8 weeks old occur when the circulation to the lungs becomes full strength. When the lungs become full strength it can flood the lungs with too much blood. This can lead to congestive heart failure and can possibly account for shortness of breath when the child is lying flat on their back.

Getting in to see the doctor or going to the ER would be a good idea. Doctors can diagnose what may be going on by taking a few tests.

If a child was diagnosed with asthma and taking steroids and Pulmicort, could the child have a heart condition since the medications are no longer working and the child is still experiencing shortness of breath?

Asthma is a condition that can come on suddenly or at any time. Also, asthma can be a common cause of chest pain. Chest pain as a symptom of heart disease in children is rare but not unheard of unlike with adults. The shortness of breath that your child experienced was more than likely due to the asthma that they were diagnosed with. If you feel the medicines are no longer effective you should visit with the doctor to find a better medicinal therapy to begin.

What does sudden shortness of breath mean?

The causes of shortness of breath on its own with no other symptoms can vary. Venous embolisms which are clots in the leg veins or upward that travels to the lung arteries and cause a blockage there. This can cause shortness of breath. Other causes can be a pumping failure to the heart, asthma attacks, stress or anxiety, and many more.

If a 20 month old baby has had a fever and intermittent shortness of breath and has been quiet and weak for 24 hours, what is the trigger to see a doctor?

One thing that you can check is how fast your child is breathing. If the child is breathing faster than 40 breaths per minute while at rest then an examination should be done to check the levels of oxygen. If the breaths are low it can be due to a lung issue like pneumonia, asthma, etc. If your child is breathing fast when the fever is up then that is generally a normal reaction and the breathing should return to normal when the fever goes back down. If other symptoms of illness occur or the shortness of breath is constant then you should make a doctor’s appointment to check if any or illness is present.

Shortness of breath in children can cause alarm for both the child and the parents. When a parent has noticed their child has become short of breath, there are many questions that can arise. These questions can vary from what are the causes of shortness of breath in children, and when is shortness of breath considered an emergency. Experts can help ease some of those concerns by answering your questions regarding shortness of breath related issues. Get the answers you seek by asking an Expert today.
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