Bronchiolitis is a lung infection that causes congestion and inflammation in the bronchioles of the lungs of young children and infants. The infection is usually caused by the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and peaks in the winter months. RSV is so commonly occurring and so easily transmitted, that it infects almost every child by the age of 2 months.
Here are some of the main symptoms to watch out for, if you think your child may be suffering from acute bronchiolitis:
- Stuffy or blocked nose
- Runny nose
- Low grade fever – this may not always be present
These signs may be followed by a week or more of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
- Wheezing or a whistling noise when the child exhales
- Several infants also tend to develop an ear infection at this stage
Head straight for the doctor if your child
- Is struggling to breathe
- Start vomiting
- Is making audible wheezing sounds
- Breathing rapidly and taking shallow breaths
- Lethargic and/or sluggish
- Refusing to drink fluids, or is breathing too fast to eat and drink in comfort
- Is displaying a bluish tinge on the skin, lips or fingernails
- Limit your child’s contact with people who have a fever or a cold.
- Keep toys, doorknobs and utensils clean with disinfectants and detergents.
- Cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze and teach your children to do the same.
- Don’t share utensils like spoons and drinking glasses
- Wash your hands frequently – get an alcohol based hand sanitizer if necessary – and teach your kids to do the same.
- Opt for breastfeeding over bottle feeding, as respiratory infections have been found to be significantly less frequent in breast-fed babies.