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    Shortness of Breath (Pediatric)

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    Aug.06.2022
    Shortness of Breath, Pediatric

    Shortness of Breath, Pediatric

    Shortness of breath means that your child is having trouble breathing. Having shortness of breath may mean that your child has a medical problem that needs treatment. Your child should get medical care right away for shortness of breath.

    Follow these instructions at home:

    Medicines

    • Give over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your child's health care provider. This includes oxygen and any inhaled medicines.
    • If your child was prescribed an antibiotic medicine, have him or her take it as told by your child's health care provider. Do not stop giving your child the antibiotic even if your child starts to feel better.

    Pollutants

    A sign showing that a person should not smoke
    • Do not allow your child to use any products that contain nicotine or tobacco. These products include cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and vaping devices, such as e-cigarettes.
    • Do not smoke around your child. If you or your child needs help quitting, ask your health care provider.
    • Talk to your child about the risks of inhaling nicotine or vapor.
    • Have your child avoid exposure to smoke. This includes campfire smoke, forest fire smoke, and secondhand smoke from tobacco products. Do not allow others to smoke in your home or around your child.
    • Keep your child away from things that can irritate his or her airways and make it more difficult to breathe, such as:
      • Mold.
      • Dust.
      • Air pollution.
      • Chemical fumes.
      • Things that can give your child an allergic reaction (allergens) if your child has allergies. Common allergens include pollen from grasses or trees and animal dander.
    • Keep your child's living space clean and free of mold and dust.

    General instructions

    • Pay attention to any changes in your child's symptoms.
    • Have your child rest as needed.
    • Have your child return to his or her normal activities as told by his or her health care provider. Ask your child's health care provider what activities are safe for your child. This includes exercise.
    • Keep all follow-up visits. This is important.

    Contact a health care provider if:

    • Your child does not get better.
    • Your child is less active than usual because of shortness of breath.
    • Your child has new symptoms.
    • Your child cannot walk up stairs or exercise normally

    Get help right away if:

    • Your child's symptoms get worse.
    • Your child has shortness of breath while resting.
    • Your child feels light-headed or faint.
    • Your child develops a cough that is not controlled with medicines.
    • Your child coughs up blood.
    • Your child has pain with breathing.
    • Your child has a fever.

    These symptoms may be an emergency. Do not wait to see if the symptoms will go away. Get help right away. Call 911.

    Summary

    • Shortness of breath means that your child is having trouble breathing.
    • Having shortness of breath may mean that your child has a medical problem that needs treatment.
    • Your child should get medical care right away for shortness of breath.

    This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.

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