What Are the Causes of Wheezing in Children?


Quick Answer

Asthma, allergies, infections, gastroesophageal reflux disease and obstructive sleep apnea are primary causes of wheezing in children, according to American Family Physician. Foreign body aspiration, cystic fibrosis and congenital abnormalities are infrequent causes of children wheezing.

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Full Answer

Recent viral upper respiratory illness in the family is infectious and can cause a child to wheeze, as noted by American Family Physician. Respiratory syncytial virus in young children is a notable cause of wheezing. Certain wheezing is seasonal; croup causes wheezing in fall and winter, whereas allergens bring on wheezing during spring and summer.

Bronchitis is the greatest cause of wheezing in children under one year. High airway obstruction, most common in infants, can cause gagging and wheezing, according to American Family Physician. Positional changes in infants while sleeping can cause tracheomalacia and anomalies in the great vessels causing wheezing. Wheezing in infants younger than one year, without an obvious cause, can be a symptom of cystic fibrosis, immunodeficiency syndrome and primary ciliary dyskinesia

Obstructive sleep apnea can cause children to awaken at night with coughing or wheezing, notes American Family Physician. The age a child starts wheezing is a strong indicator as to whether the condition is congenital or noncongenital. The younger a child when wheezing starts indicates, the greater the likelihood of a congenital abnormality.

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