There are many causes of chest pain. Some of the causes are due to problems like asthma, pneumonia, heartburn/reflux, muscle cramps or sore ribs. Often chest pain is what physicians call functional pain and is not related to something wrong with the heart.
WHEN TO CALL:
- your child has a fever (greater than 100.5F or 38.0C) , is breathing faster than usual, has chest pain, and is struggling to breathe.
- breathing is labored (nostrils are flaring)
- there is coughing and wheezing with the chest pain
- your child has an extremely rapid heart rate (more than 150 beats per min. at rest)
- your child says the heart feels like it is skipping or is jumping and there is chest pain.
- if your child has a heart defect and develops chest pain.
- the chest pain is severe and lasts more than 30 minutes after pain reliever is given.
- your child has sickle cell anemia (not sickle cell trait) and develops chest pain.
During office hours if:
- if your child has chest pain (not a side ache) while exercising.
- your child has chest pain at rest frequently.
- your child has mild chest pain that lasts more than a few hours (unless it is from an injury).
- your child has chest pain associated with irregular heartbeats.
WHAT TO DO:
- If your child develops chest pain while exercising, have them stop and rest.
- If chest pain develops from an injury, give pain reliever and apply an ice pack to the bruise.
- If your child develops pain directly under the breastbone (sternum), heartburn may be present. This may or may not be a burning feeling in children. Give an antacid (Maalox, Mylanta, Tums, etc.) for pain relief.
- If you think your child is hyperventilating, place a paper bag over the child’s nose and mouth and have them slowly breathe the air in and out of the bag, this will usually lessen the symptoms of hyperventilation within a few minutes.
- If your child is having chest pain, you should check the heart rate and temperature.