Symptoms of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) may include changes in breathing, confusion, fatigue, and low blood pressure. As an excess of fluid in the lungs may trigger respiratory distress, breathing difficulties are often the most glaring side effects, including:
- Shortness of breath or breathlessness.
- Abnormally labored breathing.
- Breathing in and out in rapid succession.
When asking, “what are the signs and symptoms of respiratory distress in an infant?” additional warning signs to note include:
- Persistent coughing. Coughing in infants does not necessarily mean they are sick, but continuous coughing can signal the onset of respiratory distress
- Unusual breaks in breathing. Stanford Children’s Health reports that newborns are known to stop breathing for periods of up to 10 seconds, but if they stop breathing for periods of 20 seconds or more, they may be showing signs of a dangerous apnea condition.
- Flaring of the nostrils or straining of the lips. These symptoms can indicate that the newborn is fighting for air, as they can tell they are not getting enough oxygen.
- Retractions in the chest. Retracting of the midsection may be a warning sign of breathing problems, as it signifies a fight to breathe.
- Blue skin color: Once a newborn is deprived of oxygen, their skin may turn blue through a process called cyanosis. This change in skin tone should warrant immediate medical attention, as the child may not be getting enough oxygen to his or her brain and vital organs.
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Infants Normally Breathe Faster Than Adults
Although newborns have the same biological makeup as adults, they are known to display periods of rapid breathing. In most cases, these strange breathing habits are nothing to worry about, as infants breathe more to compensate for their rapidly changing bodies.
According to research by Stanford Children’s Health, infants breathe anywhere from 40 to 60 times per minute. When an infant is sleeping, their breathing rate may drop between 30 to 40 times every minute. Compared to adults, and even older children, this may seem like rapid breathing.
Additionally, infants may display erratic breathing behaviors known as “periodic breathing.” This involves frequent bursts of rapid breathing, followed by resting periods where the child may not breathe for up to 10 seconds.
With so much changing in their bodies on a week-by-week basis, it is best to speak with a doctor if you worry that your infant’s breathing may signify a more serious condition.
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Causes Respiratory Distress in Newborns
ARDS can have many underlying causes, ranging from exposure to toxic chemicals to infections. Additional causes of ARDS include:
- Sepsis, manifesting as a serious and potentially life-threatening blood infection. This is the most common cause of ARDS.
- Trauma to the head and chest, commonly occurring to infants during birth. In many cases, the injury results from the use of tools like forceps during delivery. In other instances, medical negligence may cause the child to suffer injuries inside the mother’s birth canal.
- Severe inflammations, including pneumonia and pancreatitis, potentially causing a buildup of fluid in the lungs.
- COVID-19, which has been known to have severe effects on the lungs.
Many cases of respiratory distress are caused by untreated medical conditions that were otherwise preventable. When doctors fail to diagnose these conditions, despite being made aware of the warning signs, their negligence may be just as harmful as the condition itself.
Attorneys Ready to Represent Your Birth Injury Case
By understanding the signs and symptoms of respiratory distress in an infant, you may be able to get your child the help they need to recover. The next step is determining if your medical care provider caused a birth injury that led to this distress.
In many cases, the attending medical staff could have taken preventative measures to address your child’s condition. Thankfully, you do not have to deal with your losses alone.
Here at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, our attorneys handle cases of birth injuries from medical malpractice. We will fight to help you protect your right to compensation, so these reckless individuals may be held accountable for their wrongdoings.
If you are eligible for damages, you may be able to recover losses related to many different forms of physical, financial, and mental suffering, including:
- Mental anguish.
- Long-term disabilities or developmental delays.
- Medical costs.
- Expenses related to ongoing care.
To learn more about birth injury claims in your area, contact a representative at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today for your free consultation at (800) 222-9529.