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My son is three years old, and I think he has a cold or some other infection... these are going round at the moment, and he's in daycare. The scary thing is that he's complained of not being able to breathe well, and is also coughing a lot.

What can I do to help him feel better when this is happening? I am not sure if I should take him to the pediatrician's, but in either case, I still want to know what home remedies for shortness of breath in small children are available.

Anyone got any wisdom to share?

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Hey,

I think I'd take my kid to see the ped if he couldn't breathe properly at any point, even though it's probably nothing serious, purely because I'd be freaking out. 

Having said that, there's a lot of things you can do to make kids with colds or a flu feel more comfortable. Plenty of fluids will definitely help them, not just to loosen up nasal mucus and phlegm but also to prevent dehydration. Steaming with hot water will also help with phlegm and opening the airways. My mom used to use tiger balm on me and that really helped as well. Honey is another good natural nasal decongestant. 

Good luck and I hope your little one feels better soon!

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Upper respiratory infections are really common in young children, and it's usually enough to use home remedies like keeping the room temperature comfortable, preventing dehydration by offering extra fluids and giving soups for dinner (they likely won't want much more anyway), and in very young children using a bulb syringe to clear their noses.

Definitely don't give medications like cough mixtures unless your doctor says you should. A lot of these make the child groggy and sleepy.

Any time your child actually articulates that they can't breathe well, sorry, but it's time for a doctor. It might be nothing but it's better to check.

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478 posts

Hi,

Sorry your kid is feeling rough. :(

There are lots of things you can do to help them feel better naturally:

  • Place cut-up onions beside their bed when they sleep and during the day if they stay in bed or lounge around. This helps get snot and mucus going really well.
  • Sniffing eucalyptus or mint oil also helps.
  • Give foods rich in vitamin C, or juices.
  • Steam with chamomile tea, which is a safe and natural anti-inflammatory agent.

I hope that helps. Certainly, if your child is wheezing and has trouble catching breaths, more drastic steps may be required.

Rosie

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Wheezing and breathing difficulties are a cause for concern, and yes, especially if you didn't just notice it yourself but your very young child was able to tell you he couldn't breathe. Respiratory infections are common, and they do cause discomfort, but even with a stuffed nose, it should be possible for a child to achieve deeper breaths while breathing through their mouths. 

The home remedies for shortness of breath and phlegm mentioned here are good, and do work, but you want to be careful that your child didn't develop something more serious, like even pneumonia or something. Please seek medical attention!

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I am overwhelmed by your replies! Thank you for thinking with me!

I am not sure if not being able to breathe well is due to the nasal congestion, or whether there is some dyspnea going on. Since he is not getting better and is running a fever as well at the moment, I am planning to take him in now. It's hard to know, sometimes, what's normal and what needs a doctor's attention. In the meantime, I can chop up some onions, that is really good advice! Are essential oils safe for young children? I seem to remember I heard they weren't, but I am not sure. 

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Celebrity
478 posts

Hi,

I'm actually glad you decided to take him to a doctor, and I'm not usually one to advocate running to doctors to everyone. Shortness of breathe is no joke. You're going to be worried until this passes, at the very least, and you want to be able to focus on taking care of your son rather than worrying about what kind of infection he has or what else is going on. Chances are your doctor will be able to provide you with peace of mind and some tips on how to handle this.

Eucalyptus oil and mint should be perfectly safe for children, by the way.

Rosie

 

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