Why do children have intercostal retractions when they are in respiratory distress?
Intercostal retractions are due to reduced air pressure inside your chest. This can happen if the upper airway (trachea) or small airways of the lungs (bronchioles) become partially blocked. As a result, the intercostal muscles are sucked inward, between the ribs, when you breathe. This is a sign of a blocked airway.
How is respiratory distress treated in toddlers?
Treatment for RDS may include:
- Placing an endotracheal (ET) tube into the baby’s windpipe.
- Mechanical breathing machine (to do the work of breathing for the baby)
- Supplemental oxygen (extra amounts of oxygen)
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).
- Surfactant replacement with artificial surfactant.
What does a toddler struggling to breathe look like?
Ribs visibly pulling in or chest retracting with each breath (look for the skin pulling in above the clavicles, between the ribs and under the ribs, and for belly-breathing, where the abdomen noticeably pulls in forcefully with breathing) Loud breathing, wheezing, grunting or coughing.
What causes retractions in toddlers?
Usually, they’re caused by: Croup, swelling in a baby’s upper airways. Respiratory distress syndrome, breathing trouble in newborns. Bronchiolitis, or swelling in the smallest airways of the lungs.
When should I worry about my toddler’s breathing?
If your child seems to be having a hard time breathing, or you notice abnormal behaviors or actions, it may be time to seek emergency care. Visit the pediatric ER if you notice these symptoms: Breathing that is faster than normal. Breathing harder than usual without exertion.
How can I strengthen my baby’s lungs?
Respiratory medications, such as bronchodilators, may help open up your baby’s airways to make breathing easier. Artificial surfactant can prevent the small air sacs in their lungs from collapsing. Diuretics can get rid of the excess fluid in their lungs.