Children’s interstitial lung disease (chILD)

Symptoms of chILD

Different types of chILD can have some of the same symptoms – but they can be more severe in some types than others.

Shortly after birth

If your child is newborn, they may not be able to breathe or find it very difficult to get enough oxygen into their body. They will be put on a ventilator.

In the first 2 years of their life

Symptoms of chILD are not very specific - they could be caused by other things too. This can make chILD conditions hard to diagnose.

Some possible symptoms are:

  • fast breathing
  • not growing properly or losing weight
  • a dry cough or wheeze - even when they don’t have an infection
  • a sunken chest
  • frequent lung infections

Aged 2-16 years

Children aged 2-16 years are likely to show similar symptoms to the above - but you might also notice:

  • they are unusually breathless after exercising
  • the end of their fingers and nails swell – called clubbing

The chILD Lung Foundation website has more information on some of the symptoms for specific conditions.

If you have concerns or need advice, call our helpline on 03000 030 555 between 9am and 5pm on a weekday or email them.

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Last medically reviewed: September 2016. Due for review: September 2019

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.