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Respiratory Diseases: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Kathleen Hogan
Did you know that we use our respiratory system every minute of the day? So, when something goes wrong, it can cause problems for our body. This lesson will describe a few common respiratory diseases that you should know about.

What are Respiratory Diseases?

Your respiratory system is the system in your body that allows you to breathe. The main organs of the respiratory system are your lungs.

When your lungs are not working like they should be, it may be difficult for you to breathe. If this happens, your mom or dad will most likely take you to the doctor to find out what is wrong. The doctor may tell you that you have a respiratory disease, which is an illness in your respiratory system that can usually be controlled or cured. Let's take a look at some common respiratory diseases now.

The Respiratory System
lungs

Pneumonia

An infection in your lungs is also known as pneumonia. Pneumonia is caused by germs called bacteria that you can get anywhere you go. It usually occurs after you have the flu or a cold because your immune system cannot fight off the bacteria as well. Symptoms appear quickly and can include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, chest pain, an upset stomach, chills, or weakness. Pneumonia is treated by a doctor who may prescribe antibiotics.

Bronchitis

When a person's bronchial tubes are swollen and they have a bad cough, they probably have bronchitis. Your bronchial tubes are the tubes that carry oxygen to and from your lungs. Symptoms of bronchitis include coughing, yellowish-colored mucus, fever, tiredness, shortness of breath, or a tight chest feeling.

There are two types of bronchitis: acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis is the most common, comes quickly and leaves after treatment. It is usually caused by a virus. Treatments vary for acute bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis builds over time and stays with a person throughout their life. It is usually caused by smoking, but not always. Treatment for chronic bronchitis is ongoing and prescribed by a doctor.

Asthma

Asthma is a very common disease, and it affects approximately 26 million people in the United States. Asthma occurs when the airways to your lungs are swollen. Symptoms of asthma include coughing, wheezing, chest tightening, and shortness of breath.

Most people who have asthma experience these symptoms while they are exercising, during allergy season, or even when laughing or crying. Once asthma has been diagnosed, or found to be the problem, it is easily treatable with special medicines and breathing treatments.

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