This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Management of preschool wheezing in the community

Written by: | Published:

Recurrent wheeze in preschoolers, aged 10 months to six years, is a common presentation requiring consultation with a health professional. It has a cumulative prevalence of up to 40 per cent during the first six years of life, and the prevalence of wheezing is increasing over time. Most wheezing attacks are induced by viral upper respiratory tract infections, which are common in this age group.1-3

Causes and diagnosis

The first step in managing children presenting with symptoms of wheeze is to take a focused history from the parents about the child's symptoms, and what they actually mean by 'wheeze'.

In a study of 160 parents of clinic attendees, the conceptual understanding of 'wheeze' for parents of children with reported wheeze was found to be different from the epidemiological definitions. Parental report of acute wheeze and the findings by the clinicians differed.4,5 There is even inter-observer variation among the clinicians assessing wheeze with a stethoscope.6

It is therefore important to make sure that what the family is describing is actually true wheeze, and not other less specific noises, so that a specific diagnosis is not being missed.7 A true wheeze can be described as polyphonic whistling noises audible during expiration, and sometimes in inspiration.7


Please login or register to read the rest of the article and to have access to downloads and comments.


What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Read a free issue from Practice Nursing

Register to read a free issue from our sister publication, Practice Nursing.

Including articles on asthma, diabetes and more. Read your copy.

Newsletter

Sign up to the newsletter

About

Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.

Archive

Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team

Authors

Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.