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Question : My two-year-old daughter has had catarrh for months and finds it hard to breathe. What should I do?
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Henry H. Bernstein, D.O., is a senior lecturer in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. In addition, he is chief of General Academic Pediatrics at Children's Hospital at Dartmouth and professor of pediatrics at Dartmouth Medical School. He is the former associate chief of General Pediatrics and director of Primary Care at Children's Hospital Boston.

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September 18, 2013
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Catarrh is the buildup of mucus in the upper airway. It causes a runny and stuffy nose. Most of the time, catarrh is a symptom of the common cold. But the common cold usually goes away after 7-10 days.

Since your daughter has had "catarrh for months," there may be something else going on. It is hard to know without having more medical information.

You might have her checked by the doctor since this also is making it hard for her to breathe. The doctor can listen to her lungs to be sure there is not a problem in her chest. He or she can also see if she might have a sinus infection. These both are less likely since you do not mention other related concerns (like a cough) besides her stuffiness.

The cattarh might be related to allergies. Things in the air like pollens, molds and dust may be trouble for her. If so, your daughter's symptoms would not spread from person to person. A child with any allergic-type reaction does not usually need to miss daycare either.

The doctor will also discuss:

  • Things you should watch for at home.
  • Whether certain medicines might help your child. The type of medicine will depend on your child's age, symptoms and needs.
  • When your child should come in again. After the doctor decides how to treat your child, he or she will want to check her progress.

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