Shortness of breath

​Several conditions may cause your child to have difficulties in inhaling or exhaling. The most common causes include asthma, obstructive bronchitis, bronchiolitis and foreign bodies. High fever may sometimes cause frequent, shallow breathing which can be alleviated by giving the child antipyretics and/or analgesics.

Symptoms of shortness of breath in a child


Monitor the child's overall condition:

  • Is your child too tired to play?
  • Is your child drowsy or does he/she seem more tired than normal?
  • Is your child's skin colour normal, or is it pale or greyish?
  • Is your child too tired to talk?

Monitor your child for signs of breathing difficulties:

  • Your child takes frequent, shallow breaths
  • Breathing makes wheezing or high-pitched whistling sounds
  • Breathing seems to be laborious
  • The child uses additional force to breathe (ribs stick out, nostrils flare) 

When to seek medical assistance?


When your child has shortness of breath, seek medical assistance without delay. At the appointment, drugs are administered using a nebuliser to offer relief from shortness of breath and supplemental oxygen is administered, if necessary. Your child is examined to determine, if the condition is caused by an infection that can be treated with antibiotics.

More information