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Noisy Breathing: Overview

What is noisy breathing?

Noisy breathing is exactly what it sounds like: your child breathes loudly or your child makes a “weird” noise when breathing. Noisy breathing, depending on its characteristics, can be called stertor, stridor or wheeze.

What causes noisy breathing?

Noisy breathing is caused by obstructed air flow, when something makes it difficult to get air in or out of their body. Obstruction can be caused by something pushing on the airway from the outside, a structural problem with the airway or something blocking the airway such as mucus or a foreign body.

Who gets noisy breathing?

Noisy breathing can occur in a wide variety of underlying respiratory conditions and children born early or with underlying airway problems are more likely to have noisy breathing.

Additionally, smoke irritates the airways and can make noisy breathing worse. It is very important not to smoke in front of your child. This also includes not smoking outside, in the basement or in your car because smoke will stay on your clothes, hair, furniture and on car upholstery, which exposes your child to third hand smoke.

Helpful Resources

Healthy Children, from the American Academy of Pediatrics, provides parents with health information on a variety of health issues.