What is Baby Chest Physiotherapy ? (London Baby Chest Physiotherapy )
Cold, bronchitis, bronchiolitis, running nose, chesty cough – winter is back again this year with all the respiratory problems. For adults, paracetamol, vitamin C and good sleep will be sufficient to get over most of the viruses. But for babies it is a little more difficult, particularly because of their weak abdominal muscles (which do not allow for a strong cough), it is difficult for them to get rid of the mucus in their lungs. Depending on the illness, mucus either runs from the nose run down the throat into the lungs, or is secreted by the lungs directly. The mucus then stagnates in the lungs and, if untreated, sometimes leads to chest infection and a subsequent use of antibiotics or even respiratory distress. For the new parents who are not used to this type of illness, it can be a little frightening, especially when baby loses appetite and the sleep pattern is disrupted. Thankfully, chest physiotherapy can easily relieve this discomfort. Chest physiotherapy is a manual and none intrusive technique which has only recently arrived in England, but has been widely used in France, USA, Switzerland for a long time.
The aim of chest physiotherapy is to clean baby’s lungs and upper airways from the mucus restricting normal breathing, sleep pattern and eating.
A chest physiotherapy session starts by a conversation with the parents to determine the frequency of the cough and how the baby is sleeping and eating. After the conversation the physiotherapist listens to baby’s lungs with a stethoscope. This will allow to find the location, the amount and the density of the mucus (whether it is thick or fluid). With all this information, thephysiotherapist will be able to make a diagnosis and to decide the rhythm, the frequency and the intensity of the massage.
The physiotherapist will start by cleaning the congested nose of the baby withthe saline and a small pump. While doing this, he will explain you how to do it yourself, because you will have to repeat it several times during the day.
The physiotherapist will apply one hand on the baby’s belly in order to compensate his abdominal weakness and his other hand on his chest. The physiotherapist will follow the baby’s respiratory rhythm with the hand on the chest and will accelerate the expiratory flow. This will force the mucus up to the throat. Once the mucus is in the throat, the physiotherapist will stimulate the baby’s cough reflex, who will then expel the mucus. Repeating this action will clean baby’s lung from the mucus and will allow the normal oxygen flow from lungs to blood. This technique is efficient and painless for the baby; as the ribcage is still formed of cartilage and is very flexible, allowing thephysiotherapist to use this technique without any risk. Cleaning the mucus from the lungs is a big relief for the baby, who will then be able to eat, breathe, and sleep better. Chest physiotherapy will also reduce the length of the illness by more than half, as it will allow the baby to use his energy to fight the illness instead of using it to get rid of the mucus.
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