This scenario is often concerning for parents. The causes are usually one of the respiratory illnesses described above (croup, RSV, or whooping cough). If you think your child is actually choking on something, please begin CPR and call 911. If you child is blue or can’t get any air, call 911. 

If this is not a sudden choking emergency and your child’s color is good, then here are some guidelines you can follow to decide if you should go to an ER or work through the illness until we can see you in the office:

  • Croup – see above for full info. This cold virus can cause sudden raspy loud breathing, raspy voice and cry, and a cough that sounds like a seal barking. The fastest way to relieve this is to go outside in the cold, humid night air. Within a few minutes the breathing should clear. If it doesn’t improve, go to an ER (drive with the windows rolled down for cool air). Read more above. 
  • RSV – instead of croupy breathing, this cold virus can cause wheezing and retractions of the chest. Steaming your child may bring some relief. If having wheezing that is too severe, go to and ER. Otherwise, contact us when we next open. 
  • Whooping cough – this should only cause labored breathing while a coughing child is struggling to get air in during a severe fit of coughing. If you child’s color is good, don’t need to go to an ER. Call us to be seen that day. If you child is diagnosed with whooping cough, he or she is contagious for about 3 weeks from when cold symptoms first began, OR once the five-day course of antibiotics are complete. 
  • Pneumonia – see description above under respiratory illnesses. 
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