Does wheezing indicate serious illness?
Good day, my name is Agata, I’m a mother of 3-year-old Christopher. Unfortunately I noticed some alarming symptoms. My son has wheezing. Sometimes when we read a book together and he concentrates on the pictures and breathes slowly I can hear him wheezing as if the air can’t fully pass through some part of his throat. It doesn’t seem to make it hard for him to breathe. Once, when I heard the wheezing, I asked him if something was hurting him. He replied – no. That being said, I have a question. Does wheezing in a child always signal that the child is sick?
I haven’t noticed that these symptoms are getting worse. I read on the internet that it could be because my son’s airway is not fully formed yet. Is that true? This is my first child. I wouldn’t want to neglect anything. So I was thinking that the wheezing could mean that the baby has or will have asthma in the future. Admittedly, no one in my family or my husband’s family has had it. What tests can I do to rule out asthma or other diseases? A doctor friend suggested that I might need a chest x-ray. Is this also necessary? Best regards to Agatha and Christopher.
Doctor advises what wheezing may indicate
Dear lady, wheezing is an uncharacteristic symptom, so various diseases may be responsible for its occurrence. At the very beginning of diagnosis it is important to determine whether wheezing occurs during inspiration or expiration. Inspiratory wheezing is caused by narrowing of the airways located outside the chest, i.e. primarily the larynx and trachea. Inspiratory wheezing may be caused by inflammation of the larynx or trachea, vocal cord paralysis or presence of a foreign body in the above-mentioned organs.
In the case of expiratory wheezing, the constriction involves the airways that lie inside the chest, primarily the bronchi. Conditions that can manifest with expiratory wheezing include bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and chronic bronchitis, among others.
In your son’s case, allergy and bronchial asthma should definitely be ruled out. You should go with your child to a paediatrician. You should perform basic laboratory tests and possibly chest X-ray. It is possible that the symptoms are due to a simple respiratory infection and not to a more serious disease, but certainly such symptoms should not be underestimated. If bronchial asthma is suspected, you and your son should be referred to an allergologist, or pulmonologist for more detailed tests. As for your question about the development of airways, wheezing does not occur in healthy children, even at such a young age.