Chest, lungs and breathing

Find out about a range of conditions which affect the lungs, chest and breathing - read about the symptoms, causes, treatment and when to seek help. 

Illustration of a child's respiratory system

Asthma is a condition that leads to narrowing of the airways of the lungs. Symptoms include wheeze, cough and difficulty breathing.

All children and young people with Bx should have an action plan for when they are sick. This should be completed by your physiotherapist or doctor and reviewed regularly. If your child does not have an action plan, you should ask for one from your doctor.

School is an important part of life for a child with bronchiectasis.

Bronchiectasis is a type of scarring in the lungs. Mucus (phlegm or sputum) can collect in the scarred area and infections occur in this mucus.

Bronchiolitis is a chest condition that causes breathing problems in babies. It's catching so wash your hands before and after handling baby.

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea.
Coughing is common in children, especially when they are preschool age. A cough that lasts longer than 4 weeks is not normal and may be a sign of chest disease.
If your child has a bad cough, it’s important to recognise it early. A long lasting wet cough can lead to the development of lung diseases such as bronchiectasis.

Croup is a viral illness in young children which causes narrowing of the upper airways. Croup is often a mild illness but can quickly become serious, so do not hesitate to get medical help.

An oximetry test measures the amount of oxygen in the blood and can be used in the assessment of your child's breathing during sleep. 

Pneumonia is a chest infection - an infection of the lungs. It causes cough, fever and problems with breathing. Most children make a complete recovery from pneumonia.

A polysomnogram (sleep study) is the gold-standard test for the investigation of breathing problems during sleep.

Neuromuscular diseases are disorders of the nerves that control the body and muscles. Neuromuscular weakness can affect different muscle groups important to breathing. Talk with your child's medical team about symptoms to watch for and what tests your child may need.

Although noisy breathing during sleep is common in children, it may be a sign that your child is having difficulty breathing. The medical name for this is obstructive sleep apnoea.