Dysphagia describes eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties in babies, children, and young people.
It often occurs with other health conditions such as being born prematurely, having cardiac, respiratory, ear nose and throat, neurological, gastro-enterology problems or renal difficulties
It can significantly impact on the child and their family’s quality of life and if not treated appropriately it can lead to other health complications and in worst cases can lead to serious respiratory illness, lung damage and death.
Improved nutrition and hydration have an impact on physical and mental wellbeing.
Some of the signs and symptoms of dysphagia you may see:
- change in alertness around feed time, becoming sleepy, anxious, distressed
- coughing or choking before, during or after food or drink
- changes in colour such as going red or pale, blue tinges on the upper lip
- changes in breathing, this can be faster or slower than usual
- sounds of breathing difficulty such as wheezing, gurgling or “wet” breathing
- eye watering or widening, passive tears or crying, excessive blinking or grimacing
- recurrent chest infections or pneumonia
- difficulty with eating or swallowing age-appropriate food and liquid consistencies
- becoming tired during a meal or lengthy mealtimes
- difficulty in maintaining or achieving a safe position for eating and drinking
- deteriorating physical health
- deteriorating condition of teeth and mouth
- weight loss.