Bronchiolitis or bronchitis is an infection of the respiratory tract or airways leading to the lungs. While bronchiolitis is common in young children below the age of 1, bronchitis presents more in older children and adults.
What Causes Bronchiolitis/Bronchitis?
Bronchiolitis is caused by viruses similar to those in a common cold. These viruses replicate quickly, spreading to respiratory tract and threatening the young child’s immune system.
Acute bronchitis is typically caused by viruses similar to those that cause colds and flu. It can also be caused by a bacterial infection and exposure to other substances that aggravate the lungs (e.g. allergens like smoke, dust, fumes, vapours, air pollution).
Does My Child have Bronchiolitis/Bronchitis?
Bronchiolitis and bronchitis usually start out with signs and symptoms similar to those of a common cold but quickly escalates to coughing and wheezing.
Look out for symptoms such as:
Persistent coughing, mucus may be present
Crackling sounds heard when inhaling
Shortness of breath
Rapid heart rate
Sunken appearance over ribs when inhaling
How do I Care for a Child with Bronchiolitis/Bronchitis?
Your paediatrician will usually not prescribe antibiotics as this condition is typically caused by a virus. The treatment prescribed will primarily be for symptom relief (e.g. brochodilators, pain relievers).
During this period, ensure your child has plenty of rest and drinks enough fluids. Keep your home clear of smoke or other pollutants. The signs and symptoms should resolve after 7 to 10 days.