Bronchiolitis In Infants/Babies – 4 Causes & Symptoms You Should Be Aware Of


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Is your little one coughing incessantly? Are you worried that your baby is suffering from fever and a loss of appetite of late? Well, if you can relate your precious baby to the above situations chances are he may be suffering from bronchiolitis.

Bronchiolitis is common in babies who are between three and six months old. One in every three children may develop bronchiolitis in the first year of their life. Do you want to know how you can detect and prevent the infection? Give this article a read!

What Is Bronchiolitis In Babies?

Bronchiolitis is a condition in which the mucus fills the air passages in a baby’s lungs. It causes inflammation and reduces the amount of air entering the lungs, making it difficult for a child to breathe.

Causes Of Bronchiolitis In Infants:

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) [1] is the most common cause of bronchiolitis in babies. The viral infection spreads through contact or by inhaling the tiny droplets of fluid that a patient emits while sneezing or coughing. A baby may be prone to bronchiolitis due to other risk factors like:

  1. If he is a preterm baby
  2. Has any heart or lung related issues
  3. If you did not breastfeed him
  4. Exposure to irritants like fumes, dust and cigarette smoke

Symptoms Of Bronchiolitis:

The symptoms of bronchiolitis include:

  1. Chills
  2. Sore throat
  3. Runny nose
  4. Aches
  5. Shortness of breath
  6. Dry cough
  7. Loss of appetite


Your pediatrician will evaluate the condition of your baby based on his symptoms. To diagnose the condition, the doctor will examine your baby’s breathing with a stethoscope. He will place a device on the end of your baby’s finger to measure the amount of oxygen in his blood. He will also get a chest x-ray done to make sure that your infant is not suffering from pneumonia. Let the doctor know if your baby’s cough is getting worse after a few days or if his fever is above 103 degrees F.

Tips To Treat Infant Bronchiolitis At Home:

Bronchiolitis is not a serious condition. It normally goes away as the immune system fights the viral infection. You can take the following measures at home to alleviate the symptoms of bronchiolitis and relieve your baby:

1. Prevent Dehydration:

Give plenty of fluids to your baby. It will relieve lung congestion and will prevent dehydration. Run a humidifier in your child’s room and play area.

[ Read: Dehydration In Infants ]

2. Clear Stuffy Nose:

You can check with your doctor and give saline nasal drop to ease your child’s nasal congestion. Put two drops of nasal drop in your baby’s nose and then suction it out with a bulb syringe. Do not give any cough syrup to your child. Coughing up mucus will help him recover fast.

[ Read: Whooping Cough In Babies ]

3. Control Fever:

To ease your baby’s fever, ask your doctor and give him ibuprofen [2] or acetaminophen. Make sure you consult your doctor before giving any medicine and strictly follow his instructions regarding the dosage.

[ Read: Viral Fever In Infants ]

If your child is down with the infection, keep him at home only. It will help prevent the infection from spreading and affecting other children. Make sure your baby gets plenty of rest. Remember, that dust, smoke, and cold weather will irritate his airways and aggravate the problem. Provide a clean, smoke-free environment for him to recuperate.

When To Seek Medical Help?

If your infant is having mild cold symptoms, then there is no need to panic. Contact your pediatrician if your baby develops any of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Has high fever
  • Suffers from irritation and fatigue
  • Does not wet nappy or diaper
  • Has a high breathing rate
  • Suffers from a loss of appetite

It is very important to seek medical advice if your baby is less than 12 weeks old. Also, contact the doctor if the baby is suffering from any underlying health problems like congenital heart or lung condition.

Hospitalization And Medication:

Children who are suffering from acute breathing problem may need hospitalization. Administration of intravenous (IV)[3] fluids or intake of a special liquid diet can help prevent dehydration. If your baby is suffering from a bacterial infection, then the doctor will prescribe some antibiotics.

How To Prevent Bronchiolitis?

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are a few ways you can prevent your child from contracting bronchiolitis:

  • Wash his hands frequently. You should also use a hand sanitizer.
  • Keep the baby away from anyone who has cold, flu or runny nose.
  • Wash or wipe your baby’s toys regularly.
  • Once your baby is six months old, get him a flu vaccination. Children who are at a high risk of bronchiolitis must get monthly shots during the peak season [4].
  • Breastfeed your baby to boost his immunity.

[ Read: How To Clean Baby Nose ]

Now you know how to help your baby recover from a bout of bronchiolitis. So, why wait? Spread the word! Bronchiolitis infant can be treated.

Do you have any tips or suggestions to treat bronchiolitis in children? Then share it with us in the comments section below.

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