Respiratory infections

Acute respiratory infections in Children: Causes and symptoms

Respiratory infections in Children are one of the leading and most common causes of illness in children. Various studies have shown that diseases like asthma and allergies are increasing in number and have become the major cause of mortality in developing countries.

As a matter of fact, infants and adolescents are more susceptible to respiratory diseases. The state of their respiratory health is determined by various factors including the patterns of exposure, individual vulnerability, environmental conditions, and genetics.

The major identifiable risk factors include infection, air pollution (indoors and outdoors), diet, lifestyle, occupation, and provision of medical care. Early identification of childhood allergies and timely treatment can help in combating the chronic respiratory diseases.

The respiratory system is divided into two parts: Upper respiratory system and the lower respiratory system. Nose, mouth, sinuses, and throat are included in the upper respiratory system. The lower respiratory system includes the bronchial tubes and lungs.

Children with an upper respiratory infection are likely to have a runny or stuffy nose, restlessness, poor appetite, decreased activity level, fever, and cough. The symptoms of lower respiratory problems are more severe than the symptoms of upper respiratory system. They include grunting, shallow coughing, wheezing, and difficulty in breathing. Children with a lower respiratory infection are recommended to consult a doctor.

Respiratory infections in children are mainly caused due to various factors such as:

Viral infections

Viral infections are one of the major causes of the upper respiratory infections. Most common viral illnesses in infants and adolescents include sore throats, colds, croup, and influenza (flu). However, these infections are usually mild and last for 4 to 10 days. Various home remedies and treatments are effective in alleviating the symptoms of viral infections.

Bacterial infections

Throat is one of the most commonly affected area for bacterial infections in the upper respiratory system. The upper respiratory bacterial infections include various ailments such as a sinus infection. Antibiotics are considered to be an effective treatment for bacterial infections.


Allergies are one of the most common causes of respiratory infections. The symptoms of allergies in children include clear, runny drainage from the nose or a stuffy nose, sneezing, watery eyes and loss of appetite.


As a matter of fact, infants usually do not have asthma. However, the vulnerability increases with the age. A hacking cough in infants is the symptom of mild asthma. If the symptoms worsen, it can also lead to wheezing and shortness of breath after any physical exercise.

Other causes

There are various other possible causes of respiratory infections in children, such as exposure to cigarette smoke, obstruction in the air passage due to any swallowed or inhaled object. A number of genetic problems such as cystic fibrosis can also lead to respiratory issues in children.

Considering the major adverse effects of respiratory infections on your overall health and wellbeing, it is recommended to ensure appropriate measures to combat them.

Daniel is our UK-based freelance Editor. As part of our quest towards credible news, Doctor's Clinic Blog India affiliates with individuals from other parts of the world to provide an in-depth focus on essential topics. Daniel received his degree from the University of Sheffield, and since then, worked to multiple sites as a freelance contributor and editor.

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