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What is bronchiolitis?

Bronchiolitis is an infection of the small breathing tubes (bronchioles) of the lungs caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The infection causes the small airways in the lungs to swell.
Signs and Symptoms; how to recognize it?

A baby who develops bronchiolitis often starts off with signs of a cold, such as a runny nose, a mild cough, and a fever. The following signs may mean that your baby is having trouble breathing:

  •     High pitched whistling sound (wheeze) each time he breathes out.
  •     Decreased fluid intake
  •     Trouble sucking and swallowing

If your baby shows any of these signs of trouble breathing, a fever that lasts more than 24 hours (or is present at all in an infant under 3 months of age), or has any of the following conditions, call your pediatrician:

  •     Cystic fibrosis
  •     Congenital heart disease
  •     Bronchopulmonary dysplasia
  •     Immune deficiency disease (like AIDS)
  •     Organ transplant
  •     Cancer and is receiving chemotherapy

Home Treatment; what to do?

There are no medications you can use to treat RSV infection at home. Antibiotics are not helpful for brochiolitis because it is almost always caused by a virus and not by bacteria. Try some of the following to ease your child’s symptoms:

To relieve stuffy nose and fever:

  •     Mild salt-solution (saline) nose drops recommended by your pediatrician. Never use prescription nose drops.
  •     Suction bulb (best for babies under 6 months old).
  •     Cool mist humidifier (vaporizer) in the baby’s room. Do not use hot water vaporizers.
  •     Acetaminophen for fever relief. Be sure to follow the recommended dosage for your child’s age. Do not give aspirin to your child.

Be sure to call your pediatrician if you think your baby might have such a problem. Your pediatrician will treat your baby’s breathing problems with oxygen and medication. The dehydration will be treated with a special liquid diet or with fluids given intravenously.

Information on this site is intended for Angel Kids Pediatrics patients only. Always consult your doctor before beginning, modifying, or discontinuing any treatment plan.