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How to Treat Infant Wheezing

By Erica Roth ; Updated August 14, 2017

Wheezing is the high-pitched sound you hear when someone's airways are swollen or blocked. Your infant may wheeze for a variety of reasons--mucus or milk may linger in the throat, a virus may inflame the throat tissues, or he may be more susceptible to asthma, a chronic inflammation of the upper respiratory system. No matter what the cause of wheezing is, breathing difficulties are always a serious matter in infants and should be treated promptly.

  1. Take your infant to the pediatrician or emergency room if his wheezing is accompanied by sunken chest movements, a high fever, swelling of the face, hives or unresponsiveness. Your baby may be suffering from a severe infection or allergic reaction, which could require immediate medical intervention.

  2. Treat your infant's wheezing with medications administered through a nebulizer if he's been diagnosed with asthma, respiratory syncytial virus, also known as RSV, bronchitis or other upper respiratory illnesses. A nebulizer is a mask-like apparatus that delivers a mist of anti-inflammatory or steroid medications through your infant's nose and will reduce the constriction of his airways. Your pediatrician must prescribe nebulizer treatments and will teach you how to use the machine.

  3. Soothe your child's throat and airways with cool air if the cause of her wheezing is croup, a common cold or other non-life-threatening illnesses. Run a cool-mist humidifier in the house or bundle up your infant and take her outside on a cool evening suggests the Mayo Clinic. Hold your baby up in a vertical position to help her breathe more easily without wheezing.

  4. Vacuum and dust your home on a regular basis if your infant has frequent trouble breathing. Removing potential allergens may keep your baby's airways clear and free of swelling that produces wheezing.

  5. Tip

    You may be worried that your dog is causing your baby to wheeze, but this may not be the case. The University of Cincinnati found that infants who lived in homes that had more than one dog and a higher level of endotoxins in the air wheezed less than those without pets.

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