Respiratory Problems

Many teenagers , youth & older children have several respiratory infections each year. Respiratory problems can be  of upper respiratory system or lower respiratory system .

The upper respiratory system includes the nose, mouth, sinuses, and throat. Symptoms of an upper respiratory infection include:

  • Facial pain or pressure.
  • A runny or stuffy nose, which may lead to blockage of the nasal passages and cause you to breathe through your mouth.
  • A sore throat.
  • Laryngitis.
  • Irritability, restlessness, poor appetite, and decreased activity level.
  • Coughing, especially when lying down.
  • Fever that occurs suddenly and may reach 103°F (39°C) or higher.

Lower respiratory system

The lower respiratory system includes the bronchial tubes and lungs .Symptoms of a lower respiratory (bronchial tubes and lungs) problem usually are more severe than symptoms of an upper respiratory (mouth, nose, sinuses, and throat) problem.

Symptoms of lower respiratory system infections include:

  • Coughoften producing green, yellow, brown, or gray mucus (sputum) from the lungs.
  • Fever, which may be high with some lower respiratory system infections such as pneumonia.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Grunting, which is heard during the breathing out (exhaling) phase of breathing.
  • Wheezing
  • Flaring the nostrils and using the neck, chest, and abdominal muscles to breathe, causing a “sucking in” between or under the ribs (retractions).
  • Chest pain with exertion while taking a deep breath.

Respiratory problems may due to :

Viral infections

Viral infections are the most common cause of upper respiratory symptoms. Symptoms of a viral illness often come on quickly (over hours to a day or two) without prior illness. Common viral illnesses include common cold & influenza

  • illnesses that usually go away without treatment. Symptoms may include cough, mild sore throat, nasal congestion, runny nose or sneezing, and occasionally a fever.
  • Influenza (flu) symptoms are usually more severe than a cold. The key symptoms are fever and body aches. Headache, eye pain, muscle aches, and cough are also common.
  • Antibiotics are not used to treat viral illnesses and do not alter the course of viral infections. Unnecessary use of an antibiotic side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, and yeast infections. Antibiotics also may kill beneficial bacteria and lead to antibiotic resistance.

Bacterial infections

Bacterial infections may develop after a viral illness, such as a cold or influenza, and are less common than viral illnesses. Bacterial infections may affect the upper or lower respiratory system. Symptoms tend to localize to one area. In the upper respiratory system, the most common sites of bacterial infections are the sinuses and throat. In the lower respiratory system, the most common site is the lungs (pneumonia).

Bacterial infections are more common in smokers, people exposed to second hand smoke  and people with chronic lung disease like  asthma Antibiotics can effectively treat most bacterial infections.


Allergies are another common respiratory problem. Symptoms include sneezing, clear runny drainage from the nose and eyes, itchy eyes or nose, and stuffy, congested ears and sinuses. The symptoms of allergies often last longer than a typical viral respiratory infection


Asthma is a chronic disease of the respiratory system causing inflammation  and narrowing in the air tubes that carry air to the lungs (bronchial tubes). The inflammation leads to difficulty breathing, wheezing ( noisy breathing ), tightness in the chest, and cough.

Asthma often begins during childhood and may last throughout a person’s life. The cause of asthma is not clearly known. It is more common in people who also have allergies.

An asthma “attack” or episode occurs when there is increased asthma symtoms. This can be mild or severe .

The attack can start suddenly or slowly. Sometimes a mild attack will seem to go awayonly to return  a few hours later. This second attack may be much worse than the first..

During an asthma attack the lining of the airways in the lungs swells. The airways produce thick mucus The muscles around the airways tighten and make the airways narrower blocking the flow of air, making it hard to breathe.

What should you do during an asthma attack?

1. Stay calm, and try to relax.

2. Tell any adult for help.

3. Take the quick-relief medication

4. call your doctor

Never adjust your asthma medications by yourself without your doctors advice

What Can You Expect from Your Asthma Treatment?

With proper treatment for your asthma, you should be able to:

  • Stay active without having asthma symptoms (this includes exercising and playing sports)
  • Reduce or even prevent asthma symptoms
    • No missed school or work because of asthma
    • No or minimal need for emergency department visits or hospitalizations
    • Sleep through the night without having asthma symptoms
  • Have no or very few side effects from asthma medicines

How Is Asthma Controlled?

There are two important ways to treat and control asthma:

  1. Prevent asthma symptoms from starting
  • Find out the triggers of your asthma symptoms. Avoid the triggers to help prevent asthma attacks. Be open and honest with your doctor about your life. If he doesn’t know that you like to play soccer with your friends after school, he can’t help you prevent asthma attacks triggered by running.
  1. You may need to take one or both types of medicines to help you prevent asthma symptoms .
  2. Stopping symptoms or asthma attacks after they have started
  • You need to learn to watch your body for the early  signs that can tell  you for possible asthma trouble. It is important to treat even mild symptoms or warning signs of asthma to keep them from turning into a severe attack.
  • If you are having symptoms, your Asthma Action Plan will tell you what to do. Your plan will likely tell you to take quick-relief medicines that help you breathe better fast. Be sure to keep your quick-relief medicine handy. Get help right away if your symptoms do not improve or get worse after you take your medicine.