Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Symptoms Evaluation Underlying Cause Anatomy

Respiratory Distress Symptoms

Symptoms and signs of respiratory distress include:

  • Severe difficulty breathing:
  • Rib retractions:
    • Ribs are visible during each breath
  • Nasal flaring:
    • Nostrils open wide during each breath
  • Use of accessory muscles:
    • Neck muscles are prominent during each breath
  • Noisy breathing
  • Cyanosis
  • Abnormal lung sounds:
    • During examination with a stethoscope
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Rapid breathing rate

Abnormal Breathing Rates
AgeUpper NormalAbnormal
6mo - 1 year40 breaths per min60 breaths per min
1 - 3 years30 breaths per min50 breaths per min
4 - 5 years28 breaths per min45 breaths per min
5 - 6 years26 breaths per min40 breaths per min
6 - 12 years24 breaths per min30 breaths per min
Over 12 years20 breaths per min25+ breaths per min

Continue to Respiratory Distress Evaluation

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