Learn About Nasal Flaring

What is the definition of Nasal Flaring?

Nasal flaring occurs when the nostrils widen while breathing. It is often a sign of trouble breathing.

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What are the alternative names for Nasal Flaring?

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

What is some background information about Nasal Flaring?

Nasal flaring is seen mostly in infants and younger children.

Any condition that causes difficulty breathing can cause nasal flaring. Many causes of nasal flaring are not serious, but some can be life threatening.

In young infants, nasal flaring can be a sign of respiratory distress. This is a serious lung condition that prevents enough oxygen from getting to the lungs and into the blood.

What are the causes of Nasal Flaring?

Nasal flaring may be caused by any of the following:

  • Asthma flare-up
  • Blocked airway (any cause)
  • Swelling and mucus buildup in the smallest air passages in the lungs (bronchiolitis)
  • Problem breathing and a barking cough (croup)
  • Swollen or inflamed tissue in the area that covers the windpipe (epiglottitis)
  • Lung problems, such as infection or long-term damage
  • Breathing disorder in newborns (transient tachypnea of the newborn)
How do I perform a home exam for a Nasal Flaring?

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

When should I contact a medical professional for Nasal Flaring?

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. It may mean that an emergency condition is developing.
  • You think that your child is having trouble breathing.
What should I expect during a doctor appointment?

The provider will perform a physical exam and ask about the symptoms and medical history. Questions may include:

  • When did the symptoms start?
  • Are they getting better or worse?
  • Is the breathing noisy, or are there wheezing sounds?
  • What other symptoms are there, such as sweating or feeling tired?
  • Do the muscles of the stomach, shoulders, or rib cage pull inward during breathing?

The provider will listen carefully to the breath sounds. This is called auscultation.

Tests that may be done include:

  • Arterial blood gas analysis
  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • ECG to check the heart
  • Pulse oximetry to measure blood oxygen level
  • X-rays of the chest

Oxygen may be given if there is a breathing problem.

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What are the latest Nasal Flaring Clinical Trials?
Facial Infrared Thermal Imaging for Continuous Contact-less Respiratory Distress Monitoring in Mechanically Ventilated Patients

Summary: Critically ill patients are exposed to many sources of discomfort and traumatic experiences, especially if they require invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV). Dyspnea, or sensation of not getting enough air - suffocation is the most common and distressing symptom experienced by IMV patients, far more unpleasant than pain. But, contrarily to pain, dyspnea has received only little attention and is s...

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What are the Latest Advances for Nasal Flaring?

There is no recent research available for this condition. Please check back because thousands of new papers are published every week and we strive to find and display the most recent relevant research as soon as it is available.

Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: June 07, 2022
Published By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Rodrigues KK. Roosevelt GE. Acute inflammatory upper airway obstruction (croup, epiglottitis, laryngitis, and bacterial tracheitis). In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 412.

Sarnaik AP, Clark JA, Heidemann SM. Respiratory distress and failure. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 89.