Dr. MJ Bazos MD, Patient Handout
Bronchiolitis and Your Child
What is bronchiolitis?
Bronchiolitis (say: "bronk-ee-oh-lie-tus") is a lung infection caused by a virus. Children under age 2 get this illness in the winter and the early spring. Most children are sick for about a week and then get well.
What are the symptoms of bronchiolitis?
Your child will probably have a runny nose and a slight fever for 2 to 3 days. Then your child may begin to cough, breathe fast and wheeze (make a high-pitched whistling sound when breathing) for another 2 or 3 days.
What can I do for my child?
There are some things you can do when your child has bronchiolitis:
When should I call the doctor?
You should call your doctor if:
What will my doctor do for my child?
Your doctor will check your child for signs of dehydration (not enough liquids in his or her body). Your doctor will also check to see if your child is getting enough oxygen and may want to check your child for pneumonia. Sometimes, doctors give children a liquid medicine to help with the cough. Your doctor may want to see your child again in 24 hours.
If your child is really working hard to breathe, your doctor may suggest putting him or her in the hospital. Your child can get extra oxygen while in the hospital. Your child can also get extra liquids through the veins (intravenous fluids), which will help prevent dehydration.
Will my other children catch bronchiolitis?
Bronchiolitis is spread just like a cold, through close contact with saliva or mucus, but older children usually don't catch this illness.
You can help prevent spreading this disease by keeping your sick child home until the cough is almost gone. Make sure to wash your hands after you take care of your sick child to avoid spreading the virus to others.