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  • Writer's picturePediatric Consultants

Breathing Difficulties

It’s not uncommon for patients’ parents to call our office asking for an appointment and mention their child is having difficulty breathing. When our scheduling staff hears this, they will ask some follow up questions to make sure this isn’t an issue that needs to be addressed at the emergency room. Here’s what those questions mean:

Is your child able to breath?

When you say they are having difficulty breathing, do you mean their breathing sounds raspy or they cannot take a breath in? If their breathing is raspy or wheezing, but they are still breathing comfortably, then yes, that is something to bring them to our office for treatment. But if your child is trying to take a breath and cannot, we may advise you to take them to the emergency room.

Is your child retracting?

Retraction means the child’s body is having to use extra muscles to breath, sucking in, trying to breath. Mild difficulty breathing may cause slight retraction in the stomach; this is something we can see in the office. Moderate difficulty breathing may not only cause the stomach to retract, but also the skin between the ribs; this is more severe and we may advise you to take your child to the ER. Severe difficulty breathing may cause retraction in these two prior areas, as well as around the neck and collarbone; this is a situation where we advise you to take your child to the emergency room immediately.

If your child is showing discoloration at all (bluish or grayish pallor), we recommend you take them to the ER.

If you have questions, or would like more information, please call either office.

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