Infantile Wheezing

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Wheezing is a whistling sound (often high-pitched) that happens when a child’s airways are partially blocked or narrowed. Regular episodes of wheezing are common in the first few years of life. Infant wheezing, also called infantile wheeze, can be treated by the pediatric pulmonologists with Norton Children’s Pulmonology, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine. They have the training and expertise to care for children experiencing a wheezing cough.

What Causes Infant Wheezing?

Wheezing is the result of an obstruction or narrowing of the airways. This can be caused by:

  • Mucus accumulating in the airways
  • Tissue swelling in the airways
  • Bronchospasm, an involuntary contraction of the walls of the airways

The most common cause of a single episode of infant wheezing is a respiratory infection caused by a virus. However, when wheezing episodes are frequent, common causes may include:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Frequent viral lung infections

Less commonly, infantile wheeze may be caused by:

  • Difficulty swallowing, causing food or liquid to be inhaled into the lungs
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Foreign object in the lungs
  • Heart failure

Sometimes, the cause of infantile wheeze is unknown.

Infant Wheezing Treatment

Depending on your child’s condition and medical history, the following treatments may be used:

  • Inhaled bronchodilator (such as albuterol)
  • Corticosteroids (such as prednisone)

Children who are unlikely to develop persistent asthma usually require only inhaled bronchodilators used as needed to control their symptoms.

Most young children with frequent, severe episodes of wheezing can be helped with:

  • Bronchodilators
  • Daily use of an anti-inflammatory medicine for asthma

Pediatric Pulmonary Center

Our center specializes in caring for children with any type of respiratory disorder. Careful consideration is given to prescribe the best possible method of therapy following nationally accepted guidelines for treating infantile wheeze, where applicable.

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