Respiratory Infections in Children
Respiratory infections in children are another common childhood sickness. These infections are caused by close contact with another infected child. When entered into the respiratory tract, the virus begins to cause inflammation and mucus production. The start of a runny nose, sore throat and cough are the first symptoms of a respiratory infection. The signs of a respiratory infection should prompt a call to your pediatrician as in some cases the infection can lead to ear infections or if left untreated, pneumonia. Rest, fluids and over the counter medication for fever and aches are the typical and most common recommendations for a respiratory infection in children. In most cases, antibiotics are not used to treat the infection. Respiratory infections are usually divided into two categories: Upper tract and lower tract.
Upper Respiratory Tract Infection
An upper respiratory infection in children affects the nose, throat and airway. This airborne infection usually last seven to 10 days. Some types of upper respiratory infections are:
- Sinusitis- inflammation of the sinuses
- Epiglottitis- inflammation of the upper part of the trachea
- Laryngitis- inflammation of the larynx/ voice box
- Bronchitis- inflammation of the bronchial tubes
Lower Respiratory Tract Infection
Lower respiratory infection in children affects the airways and lungs. This type of infection is more serious than an upper respiratory infection as it can easily lead to TB, pneumonia, and bronchiolitis.
Common symptoms in respiratory infections in children are:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat, coughing, hoarsness
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Red eyes
You should consult your pediatrician if symptoms include:
- Faster than normal breathing
- Frequent coughing with vomiting
- Unable to talk or having to stop to catch breaths
- Fever that will not break
Health Care for Children encourages all parents to call our office with any questions regarding your child’s health. A respiratory infection can often be at home, but our nurses are on call and willing to discuss possible treatment options with you. Should symptoms become worse, we have convenient evening and weekend hours ensuring your child is able to see our pediatricians. More information regarding respiratory infections in children can be found at healthy children.org.