My pediatrician says my son's chesty wheezing is something called stridor. She's suggesting I give him a steroid treatment. What is stridor and what are my options for treating it?
Stridor is a term used to describe noisy, high-pitched breathing. Stridor occurs more frequently in children due to the fact that a child has a narrower airway than an adult. Stridor can be caused by a respiratory infection, allergic reaction, an abnormality of the airway, or even by an obstruction.
The sound stridor makes, as a result of a narrowing airway, occurs with inhalation. The goal, when a child has stridor, is to determine the cause of the inflammation and then treat it appropriately. In your son's case, your pediatrician has determined that medication is the best course of action. Steroids can act as an anti-inflammatory and help to reduce the swelling that is causing the stridor. If the stridor is happening as a result of a viral infection, using the steroids until the infection is cleared up may be what your doctor recommends.
The cause of the stridor will help your doctor decide which is the best course of treatment. Cool air mist or steam may offer temporary relief. Try to keep your child calm. If the child becomes anxious, his breathing may become more labored. Stridor can sometimes lead to extreme difficulty breathing and should be evaluated. Seek immediate medical assistance if your child has difficulty breathing or has blueness around the lips or mouth.