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Bronchitis In Children: Causes, Symptoms And Remedies

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It may begin as a common cold and last for a week or two. But sometimes it could end up inflaming the bronchial tubes and lead to bronchitis, which lasts longer.

Bronchitis is a common infection in children and babies, and can be cured at home with some care, although hospitalization may be needed in some cases. So, is bronchitis a serious condition that you should be worried about?

MomJunction tells you about bronchitis, what causes it, and the treatment options for bronchitis in children.

What Is Bronchitis?

Bronchitis is an infection of the lungs that causes the inflammation of the bronchial tubes’ lining. The bronchial tubes allow passage of air from and to the lungs. Bronchitis can be acute or chronic, with acute bronchitis lasting for two to three weeks, and chronic bronchitis lasting for at least four weeks and more.

Bronchitis vs. bronchiolitis:

Bronchitis is often confused with another condition called bronchiolitis (1). Bronchitis is more like a symptom that affects the bronchial tubes, while bronchiolitis is a specific condition that affects the smaller airways that branch off the bronchial tubes.

Next, we look at what causes bronchitis.

[ Read: Viral Infection In Children ]

Causes Of Bronchitis In Children?

Often, bronchitis develops when the common cold or flu virus spreads to the bronchial tubes. In children, acute bronchitis is usually the result of a viral infection such as the common cold or the flu. Sometimes, bronchitis develops due to bacterial infections and allergens such as smoke, pollen, and dust.

Since the flu and common cold are contagious, children can also get the infection from someone who is already sick. Other factors that increase the risk of bronchitis in children are (3):

Since bronchitis follows the flu or a bout of common cold, the condition is often misdiagnosed. To avoid that, you should watch out for the symptoms, which are discussed next.

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[ Read: Asthma In Children ]

Signs And Symptoms Of Bronchitis In Children

A child with bronchitis may experience the following symptoms.

In some cases, the child may experience shortness of breath too. Take your child to a doctor if:

Proper diagnosis of bronchitis is critical to provide the right treatment for the child.

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[ Read: Wheezing In Children ]

Diagnosing Bronchitis In Children

The diagnosis usually involves a thorough physical examination and questions on the symptoms. The doctor would want to know how long the child has had the symptoms and the color of the mucus. The doctor would also check the child’s breathing and for any signs of wheezing or disturbance. In some instances, the doctor might recommend a few diagnostic tests mentioned here:

Based on the diagnosis, the doctor will prescribe medication and treatment for acute or chronic bronchitis.

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Bronchitis Treatment For Children

Usually, acute bronchitis goes away on its own within two or three weeks. In case the bronchitis is due to a bacterial infection, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics. If the child has asthma or allergies, the doctor may also recommend the use of an inhaler. Usually, treatment for bronchitis in children includes:

However, severe bronchitis may cause complications such as:

In such cases, the child would need hospitalization and constant medical care until the symptoms ease. Besides the treatment options prescribed by the doctor, following a home care plan can also help cure bronchitis faster.

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[ Read: Ibuprofen For Kids ]

Home Care Tips For Bronchitis

Medication and any other treatment options, such as therapy, will be effective when you follow these home care tips for alleviating the symptoms of bronchitis (4).

Home care combined with some natural remedies can help alleviate the symptoms of bronchitis. Next, we’ll look at a few home remedies you can try for bronchitis in children.

Natural Home Remedies For Bronchitis

These home remedies ease the discomfort but do not cure the condition. Talk to your doctor before trying these bronchitis home remedies for your child.

These remedies can be tried even if the child has the flu or cold, to prevent the infection from spreading to the bronchi. While you cannot entirely stop the child from developing bronchitis, you can minimize their chances of infection by following a few precautionary measures.

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[ Read: Home Remedies For Child’s Cough ]

Preventing Bronchitis In Children

A child can develop bronchitis due to a number of reasons, which makes it difficult to prevent it entirely. However, these tips could minimize the risk.

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Bronchitis can be cured when it is detected early on. Ensure you get the child treated for the flu or cold sooner, for that can prevent the virus from spreading to the bronchial tubes. While there are no specific vaccinations for bronchitis, getting the child an annual flu shot can minimize the risk of infection.

Do you have any home care tips or suggestions for treating and preventing bronchitis in children? Let us know about it in our comments section.

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Sagari Gongala

Sagari is a math graduate and studied counseling psychology in postgraduate college, which she uses to understand people better. This skill also helps her write better articles about kids and their behavior. She is meticulous in her research and gives you information that could be the ultimate help you’ll need in times of need. An animal lover, vegan, and coffee addict, Sagari puts her mind and soul into whatever she does. During her free time, you'll find her either rescuing a sick/injured animal with a friend, or glued to her couch watching Sons Of Anarchy on Netflix.
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