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Topic Index

Anatomy of the Respiratory System

Signs of Respiratory Distress

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Acute Respiratory Disorders

Chronic Respiratory Disorders


Respiratory illnesses can include a variety of problems, including colds, flu, runny noses, coughs, and sore throats. Some children may also have chronic illnesses that affect the breathing system, including asthma and cystic fibrosis (CF).

Picture of a young girl, in a hospital bed, with her mother

According to the Cystic Fibrosis Association, nearly 30,000 people in the U.S. are currently affected by CF. An additional 10 million people carry the gene that causes CF, but do not have the disease.

About 17.5 million adults and 7.1 million children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with asthma, according to the American Lung Association (ALA).

The ALA also says that most children will develop at least six to eight colds or other respiratory illnesses a year. This number may even be higher in children who attend day care.

Adults, on the other hand, get colds, on average, two to four times a year.

If you, a family member, or a friend suffers from a respiratory problem, this information may help you better understand the condition.