Mercy Hospital & Health Services Contact Us
MyChart
About Mercy
Join Our Team
set font size large set font size medium set font size small
email this page print this page
Health Illustrated Encyclopedia Banner
Health Illustrated Encyclopedia

Disclaimer:
Our Health Information Database is provided by A.D.A.M. the leading provider of electronic and printed information for professionals and consumers in healthcare and industry. It provides authoritative, reliable content written and reviewed by an editorial board who represent a variety of specialty areas. This board reviews and evaluates all healthcare information to ensure it is accurate, reliable, and can be used with complete confidence. And now you have access to the same authoritative, trusted clinical information relied upon by health professionals around the world.
Nasal flaring

Definition

Nasal flaring is the enlargement of the opening of the nostrils during breathing. It is often a sign that increased effort is needed to breathe.

Alternative Names

Flaring of the alae nasi (nostrils); Nostrils - flaring

Considerations

Nasal flaring is seen mostly in infants and younger children.

Any condition that causes the infant to work harder to breathe can cause nasal flaring. While many causes of nasal flaring are not serious, some can be life threatening.

In young infants, nasal flaring can be a very important symptom of respiratory distress.

Common Causes

Home Care

Seek immediate emergency help if you or your child has signs of a breathing difficulty.

Call your health care provider if

Call your health care provider if:

  • There is any persistent, unexplained nasal flaring, especially in a young child.
  • Bluish color develops in the lips, nail beds, or skin. This is a sign that breathing difficulty is severe and may mean that an emergency condition is developing.
  • You think that your child is having trouble breathing.

What to expect at your health care provider's office

The health care provider will perform a physical exam to determine if the flaring is due to upper or lower respiratory problems. The exam will include careful listening to the breath sounds. This is called auscultation.

Medical history questions may include:

  • When did it start?
  • Is the person getting better or worse?
  • Does the person look blue?
  • Is the breathing noisy, or are there wheezing sounds?
  • Are there grunting noises with the breathing?
  • Does the person look like they are working hard to breathe?
  • Are they getting tired or sweaty?
  • Do the muscles of the stomach, shoulders, or rib cage need to be used when the person is breathing? (See: intercostal retractions)
  • What other symptoms does the person have?

The following tests may be performed:

The patient may be given oxygen.

References

Wiebe RA. General approach to the pediatric patient. In: Marx J, ed. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 6th ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby; 2006:chap. 164.

View Spanish Version

Encyclopedia Home
Drug Note Home
Health Information Home

Images

Care Points
    Read More

    Review Date: 4/26/2010

    Review By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

    The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

    www.adam.com
    www.mercyweb.org
    follow us online
    facebook youtube


    Contact us
    Home  |  Sitemap

    Disclaimer & Terms of Use  |  Privacy Statement  |  Notice of Privacy Practices
    Copyright ©2013 Mercy. Last modified 2/16/2011