When to Call the Doctor: 8 Symptoms You Shouldn't Ignore

4. Difficulty breathing: Many things can cause a child to have difficulty breathing. High fevers alone can often cause children to breathe quickly but quietly. If medicine relieves the fever and the breathing returns to normal, then you do not need to consult your pediatrician right away. But if the breathing is rapid, yet there is no fever, you should contact your doctor immediately. Noisy breathing can signify croup, asthma or an inhaled foreign body. Croup is a viral illness that causes noisy breathing when your child breathes in. It often includes a barky cough that gets worse at night. Breathing the cold air outside or warm mist from the shower will often improve the noisy difficult breathing. If these interventions don't help, call your pediatrician. Wheezing is noisy breathing when breathing out. You may not be able to hear the wheezing but instead notice that your child is having a difficult time breathing, complaining of a tight chest or coughing continuously. These symptoms all warrant a visit to the doctor's office. If a child has been eating a hard food, is noted to choke and then continues to cough frequently it may be a sign that they have inhaled a piece of food into their lung. Call your physician to ask their opinion on how to proceed. Your physician will likely suggest that you take your child in for a chest X ray in the office or an emergency room. An inhaled foreign body in the lung must be surgically removed.

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