Chest congestion among infants is not an ailment unless it is an indication of an underlying disease. Generally, congestion and runny nose is prevalent among young children due to the immature immune system and exposure to other children with respiratory ailments.
A doctor must be consulted right away if an infant less than 3 months old has indications of common cold or congestion since these can progress to pneumonia or croup.
The mucus from the throat and nose can cause chest congestion. An infant with chest congestion often ceases to feed normally since it is hard to breathe while nursing.
The other indications of chest congestion include the following:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Low-grade fever of around 100.4 degrees F
If wheezing is present, it is recommended to run a warm shower and stay in the damp bathroom with the child upright on your lap or shoulder and pat gently his/her back. This helps break up any secretions and ease the wheezing. In case this is not effective or the breathing of the child worsens, bring the child to the nearest emergency department.
What are the danger signs?
A doctor must be consulted right away if the following are present:
- Decrease in the number of soiled diapers
- Temperature over 102 degrees F
- Coughing to the point of vomiting, turning bluish or becoming pale
- Labored breathing with a chest that “caves in”
- Bluish mark bordering the mouth
- Refuses to nurse or take in fluids
- Blood-streaked mucus
Management of chest congestion
Oftentimes, chest congestion and common cold simply runs their course. Since these conditions are viral, antibiotics are not effective and must not be given unless a bacterial infection developed.
Keep the child comfortable with the following measures:
- Provide fluids or nurse more frequently to prevent dehydration
- Use a vaporizer in the room to add moisture and heat to the air and thin out the secretions
- Elevate the head of the bed of the child to assist drainage from the throat and nose
- Use a syringe to softly suction the mucus from the nose of the child
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on chest congestion among infants is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize the indications by taking a standard first aid course with Mississauga First Aid.