How will I know my baby/child has a chest infection?

How will I know my baby/child has a chest infection?

It is important to learn what is normal for your child; do they normally cough? What does their normal breathing look like? Knowing this can help you see small changes which may indicate       early warning signs that      your child has a lung infection. Every child will be different and may have different symptoms at different stages in their life.

Monitoring any of the following symptoms may help you to learn patterns in your child’s health, help to indicate when you contact your care team, or primary healthcare provider:

  • Cough -your child might start to cough or their cough may be different compared to their usual cough. Their cough may become more moist or wet, or become more frequent or be present at night when previously it was not
  • Sputum (or mucus) – your child may start coughing up sputum. If they usually have sputum, you may notice a change in the colour or the volume. You may notice your baby swallowing mucus, or they might have small vomits with mucus present
  • Persistent throat clearing
  • Wheezing – your child may start making a whistling noise while breathing
  • Difficulty exercising – your child may not be as active as usual or find they cannot keep up with others during physical activity
  • Changes in breathing – your child may be breathing faster than normal or with increased effort or be short of breath, or puffed easily.

When people with CF have a chest infection, they often feel generally unwell, tired and lacking in energy. In infants and young children, you may notice a change to how much or often your child is drinking or eating (including changes in their ability to breastfeed or take the bottle for babies). Fevers may occur, but not always.  Some individuals with CF will not appear to be sick though. Changes may still be happening in the lungs of these individuals. Children with CF may not feel or look unwell even when infection is occurring, so changes in cough and sputum, or other symptoms specific to the individual are really important to monitor. Work with your CF team to develop an action plan to deal with changes in symptoms.  Early intervention may prevent things from worsening.


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