Wheezing in 2-Year-Olds

Baby distressed
Wheezing episodes make breathing difficult. (Image: -difa-/iStock/Getty Images)

Wheezing is a high-toned whistle-like noise that occurs while breathing, typically when exhaling. It can occur in anyone, including a 2-year-old child. The sound transpires as air attempts to flow through breathing tubes that have narrowed due to an illness, condition or complication. Because wheezing makes breathing difficult, it is essential to understand why it occurs and how you can ease your child’s symptoms.

Causes

Wheezing often develops in 2-year-olds who contract a lower-respiratory infection like the respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. Wheezing also develops if your child’s throat becomes obstructed by an object and he begins to choke. Asthma, allergens, certain bugs, pollen, foods or drugs can also trigger wheezing. In addition, abnormalities in the structure of the vocal cords or airways also can cause wheezing in 2-year-olds.

Remedies

Turn on a hot shower until the air in the bathroom becomes steamy and thick. Sit with your 2-year-old in the bathroom so he can breathe in the wet, warm air, which will help ease wheezing episodes. Alternatively, run a vaporizer in various rooms of your house to add moisture to the air. A doctor often prescribes an asthma medication or inhaler to stop wheezing related to asthma attacks.

Prevention

Keep your toddler away from irritants such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, fireplace smoke and dust, all of which can trigger wheezing episodes. Wash her bedding in hot water once a week to reduce allergen exposure. Because pollutants are irritating to the lungs and contribute to wheezing, check the air quality index in your area and keep your child indoors when air quality outside is unsafe for those with respiratory conditions.

Dangers

Call your child’s pediatrician or go to the emergency room if your toddler experiences unexplained wheezing or if the episodes are chronic, do not subside even with home treatment or are accompanied by breathing difficulties, problems with concentration or comprehension, the development of hives, swelling in the throat or the skin turning blue. These are signs of a serious allergic reaction or complication.

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