Although a very common problem, wheezing in infants and toddlers remains a difficult and confusing problem for clinicians. The wheeze is not usually due to asthma but asthma medications have a role if there is significant breathlessness and ongoing morbidity.
- Although wheeze in infants and toddlers is very common, it is not usually due to asthma.
- A systematic approach to wheeze in children in this age group should enable GPs to determine an appropriate management strategy, including parent education.
- Determining the pattern of wheeze has limited utility in individual patients.
- Recognition of the infant with acute viral bronchiolitis is important, to avoid unnecessary interventions.
- If the wheezing is associated with significant breathlessness, a trial of an inhaled bronchodilator (reliever) is appropriate – provided the infant is over six months of age.
- If the wheeze and breathlessness is causing significant ongoing morbidity, a one-month trial of an inhaled corticosteroid may be indicated.
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