Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
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
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
What can I do for my child?
There are some things you can do when your child
- Have your child drink liquids. Don't worry if he
or she doesn't feel like eating solid foods.
- Use a cool-mist vaporizer in the bedroom while
the child is sleeping.
- Run hot water in the shower or bathtub to steam
up the bathroom and sit in there with your child if he or she is coughing hard
and having trouble breathing.
- Give your child acetaminophen (some brand names:
Children's or Infants' Tylenol), if he or she has a fever. Don't give your child
Aspirin. Aspirin has been associated with Reye's syndrome, a rare disease of the
brain and liver.
I call the doctor?
You should call your doctor if:
- Your child is vomiting and can't keep liquids
- Your child is breathing very fast, more than 40
breaths in 1 minute.
- Your child's skin develops a bluish color,
especially around the lips or in the fingertips.
- You can see your child's skin pull in between the
ribs with each breath or your child has to sit up to be able to breathe.
- Your child has had heart disease or was born
prematurely. In this case, call the doctor at the first signs of this illness.
What will my doctor do for
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 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