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Child with pain below sternum when breathing

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Hello. My daughter is 8 years old. She is having pain when she breathes. She says the pain is below her sternum. I have given her Motrin and it doesnt seem to help. I am not sure if I should take her to the ER?

Category: Family Physician-GP

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Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
 28 Doctors Online


If she has any warning signs such as cough, breathlessness, any grunting sound while breathing, colicky abdominal pain, you should take her to the ER. Gradually increasing pain is also an indication. Otherwise you may observe for a day. Mostly likely the pain will resolve by it on in a day.

The pain below sternum can be due to a musculoskeletal cause (as in from the muscles and bones of the rib cage), an intra abdominal origin or a pleuritic (lung) origin. Most of the times this symptom is bit specific (not suggestive of a single diagnosis). Watch for the alarm signs mentioned above. Avoid Ibuprofen and pain medications, as it can aggravate the pain, if the pain intra abdominal origin as in case of gastritis.

Hope this helps
Please feel free to ask followup questions

Thank you

Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy
Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
MBBS from Sri Ramachandra University in December 2011
M.Med (Family Medicine) - TNMGR University, Chennai
MBA-MPH in Public Health in March 2016, SRM University
Finished AFIH in March 2016, SRM University
MRCP ( UK ), Internal Medicine, Royal College of Physicians, June 2016
Fellowship in Diabetology from Martin Luther University in January 2017

Currently Resident Physician, in MD Radiodiagnosis - Kamakshi Memorial Hospital, Chennai
Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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