A FIRST aider has told parents how to spot if their baby is struggling to breathe due to a common virus.
The signs of respiratory distress are not as obvious as you’d think, as babies don't always make audible gasps.
Tiny Hearts Education Instagram, run by first aider Nikki and her sister, Rach, shared a video of a baby to help other parents.
The film was taken by the mum of a five-week-old baby, who can be seen sucking in deeply to try and get air.
But the baby is not gasping or wheezing.
Nikki explained the best thing to do when checking a baby who is unwell is to remove their clothing and watch their chest.
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She wrote: “One of the first things I would do as a paramedic on scene with a little one is lay them down and expose their chest to assess breathing and effort.
“In tiny little humans it can be hard to see retractions and identify if they are working harder to breathe than normal with clothes on.
“This little ones mama did exactly that and this five week old bub spent a week in hospital on oxygen recovering from RSV.
“Signs of respiratory distress in your child should always be assessed by a doctor, how quickly will depend on how hard they are working.”
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RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) is a bug spread by sneezing and coughing that most children catch before they are two years old.
In half of cases, it leads to bronchitis, a lower respiratory tract infection.
The early symptoms of bronchiolitis are similar to those of a common cold, such as a runny nose and a cough, the NHS says.
Rapid or noisy breathing, a temperature, cough and difficulty breathing may then develop.
The NHS says you should call an ambulance if your child or baby is struggling to breathe (or is breathing very fast or with pauses), is finding it hard to stay awake, or their skin is blue.
It says: “You may see the muscles under their ribs sucking in with each breath, they may be grunting with the effort of trying to breathe, or they may be pale and sweaty.”
KNOW THE SIGNS
It comes after another mum urged other parents to film their baby breathing on a normal day, so they have something to compare against.
She shared a distressing clip of her own baby in a nappy and sucking a dummy, wriggling around and trying to catch a breath.
The mum, writing on Tiny Hearts Instagram, said: “Thanks to all of the info on here I was able to see the signs that my little babe was working hard to breath.
“I followed your advice and had a previous video of her breathing normally so when she came down with a cold recently I was able to use that video and compare the two.
“Based on this I took her to ED where she was diagnosed with bronchiolitis and placed on high-flow oxygen and a gastric tube.
“If you don’t have a 30-second video of your babe breathing normally, go film one.
"In times where you think there breathing is abnormal use to compare!”
Most cases of bronchiolitis are not serious, but up to three per cent of babies under one years old need to be admitted to hospital.
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In the winter months, bronchiolitis is responsible for around one in six of all UK paediatric admissions.
It is estimated that over 30,000 babies and children under five are hospitalised every year in the UK because of RSV, and sadly 30 die.
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