Respiratory Illness

For children and young people with learning disabilities, respiratory illness (trouble with airways and/or breathing) is the commonest cause of:

  • Visits to the GP
  • Visits to the Emergency Department
  • Hospital admissions
  • Admissions to intensive care

Best first step is prevention

  • Always get the annual ‘flu vaccine for the whole family
  • Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke, as even smoke on clothes can be irritant
  • Avoid exposure to vaping, as this can also be irritant to vulnerable airways

What to look out for and what to do

  • Coughs and colds and sneezes need simple remedies, plenty of fluids and if need be paracetamol to address pain and fever.

Red flags to seek medical review: Ring GP or 111

  • Significant increased work of breathing, drawing in of stomach or neck with breathing
  • Raised rate of breathing
  • Blue lips
  • Pauses in breathing
  • Getting worse despite simple measures at home


Want to ask us something about this site or give us feedback on the site? Send us a message and we will get to you as soon as possible.