The management of wheezing among toddlers greatly depends on the primary cause. Wheezing is basically a symptom of various conditions, particularly viral respiratory infections and then followed by childhood asthma. Other causes include allergies, common cold and other illnesses.
Once a child is diagnosed with asthma, the doctor can provide the appropriate treatment plan. Some conditions that cause wheezing might require antibiotics or other medications. There are also home measures that can help minimize the wheezing and provide relief. These measures can remedy episodes of wheezing, but long-term measures might be required for children who are asthmatic or highly allergic.
Measures in managing wheezing
- Carefully follow the instructions provided by the doctor for asthmatic toddlers. Provide the oral or inhaled medications as prescribed.
- For a child who does not have asthma, an over-the-counter expectorant can be given suitable for his/her age if allowed by the doctor. Make sure that the package instructions are followed.
- Turn on the air conditioner if it is humid or warm to help cool the environment in the house, reduce the humidity and clear the air of any allergens or asthma triggers.
- Turn the shower to the hottest setting and accompany the child in the steamy bathroom. The windows and door should be closed for about 20 minutes. The steam inhalation method can be used if the child has not been diagnosed with asthma.
- All surfaces in the house must be free from dust and the floors must be vacuumed on a regular basis to minimize the amount of irritants.
- It is vital to stop smoking if anyone in the household does. Remember that smoke is an irritant that can travel via the air and the ducts.
- Utilize allergen-proof casing for the pillows, mattress and box springs used by the child to prevent the accumulation of irritants, allergens and asthma triggers.
- All linens and stuffed toys must be washed in water at least 130 degrees F on a weekly basis.
- The filters of the heating and air conditioning units must be cleaned regularly. It is recommended to install small-particle filtering mechanism in the ventilation system.
- The flooring in the house should be hardwood instead of carpeting. Take note that carpets can allow irritants and allergens to accumulate over time.
- If possible, avoid pets that have feathers or furs. If the household has pets, they should stay outdoors as much as possible and away from the child and his/her bedroom. The pets must be bathed every few days.
It is best to seek treatment for a child if his/her breathing is still labored or if an undiagnosed wheezing persists for more than 3 days.