Bronchiolitis (wheezing in babies) #A2ZChallenge

Have you heard about RSV? Did you know that it is a virus and just like the flu this virus is seasonal and easy to spread? Did you know that it is very common in children who are of 2 years age and below?

Bronchiolitis well, we as parents are quite aware of this. Also, known as wheezing, it is very common in infants and adults. It is a chest infection and normally caused by an infection of the lungs. The infection leads to the inflammation and congestion of the small airways, thus making it difficult for the child to breathe.

Things To Know About Bronchiolitis

  • It is caused by a virus – respiratory syncytial virus. This virus infects almost every child before or by the age of 2
  • Bronchiolitis is at its peak in the winter months
  • It can be caused by the virus of common cold and flu as well
  • Medications do not help in treating the condition
  • It is contagious and care should be taken
  • The virus can be contracted through droplets when someone sick sneezes or coughs
  • Children and babies need a lot of rest and small meals

There is a difference between bronchitis and bronchiolitis. In bronchitis, the large airways get obstructed due to the mucus production. The lungs try to eliminate this by coughing. Whereas, in Bronchiolitis, there is inflammation of the small airways, thereby making it difficult for children to breathe.

Symptoms To Look Out For

This usually starts with a normal cold and cough along with a runny nose. (The typical symptoms of common cold). However, the child’s condition may worsen in one or two days resulting in breathing problems. Other than these the marked symptoms are:

  • Noisy breathing more like wheezing or whistling
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Difficulty in eating and drinking
  • Some children may also have an ear infection
  • Flared nostrils can be seen when a child breathes since breathing becomes hard
  • Fever (not necessary)

Symptoms of bronchiolitis are worst on the 2nd and 3rd day. The child may be sick for 10 days after which he may have a cough which might continue for 4 weeks.

When To See The Doctor

Though we like to treat common colds and fever at home but in case you see the following then you must go to the doctor:

  • If the child is lethargic
  • If the child refuses to eat and drink
  • Is dehydrated
  • Is breathing with a loud wheezing sound
  • If the skin (lips and fingernails) start turning blue, also known as cyanosis

Children who are below 6 months are at risk of getting bronchiolitis since they have an underdeveloped immune system and lungs.

Other factors which pose to be a risk in getting bronchiolitis are:

  • In babies who have not been breastfed
  • In premature babies
  • Have some congenital heart condition
  • A chronic lung infection
  • Are immunocompromised
  • Are exposed to smoke

What To Do And How To Prevent Bronchiolitis

Bronchiolitis cannot be treated with antibiotics since it is caused by a virus. It must be noted that viruses cannot be cured by antibiotics. Also, medicines like adrenaline, steroids and those used for asthma are not very helpful. So what should be done?

You can care for your child at home by ensuring that they get enough rest, frequent food or liquids, breastfeed or formula … this helps them from getting dehydrated. Since the nose is blocked try using saline nasal drops as it helps to clear the nasal passages. Make sure that no one smokes around the sick child.

Also, there is a vaccine – SYNAGIS. This is not the treatment but only a preventive measure which helps to reduce the risk of RSV virus infections in children. The vaccine is administered through a single dose in the thigh muscle.

Other preventive measures to help stop the infection are:

  • Limiting the child’s contact with people who have cold and fever
  • Keeping the kitchen and bathroom countertops dry and clean
  • Teaching children to use their own drinking glasses
  • Frequent hand washing
  • Avoid using dirty tissues

Please Note: All the information has been sourced from the internet. Also, please consult your doctor before following anything that is mentioned here.

Also Read:

Theme Reveal, A – Autism, C – Celiac Disease, D – Dyslexia, E – Eating Disorders, F – Fever, G – GERD, H – Hand Foot And Mouth Disease (HFMD), I – Imaginary Friends, J – Juvenile Arthritis, K – Kawasaki Disease, L – Leukaemia, M – Meningitis, N – Neuroblastoma, O – Omphalitis, P – Pica, Q – Q Fever, R – Retinoblastoma, S – SIDS, T – Tetanus, U – Urinary Tract Infection, V – Vomiting, W – Wilms’ Tumour, X – Xeroderma Pigmentosum, Y – Year-Round Allergies, Z – Zika Virus

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Shubhra Rastogi Written by:

Well, about me I can say that I am a certified dentist, healthcare analyst, medical writer and above all a mother of a 6-year-old. Most of my day to day activities revolve around her and she is my inspiration to start this blog. As a mother, I experimented with a lot of new things for my little one in a quest to find the best for her. I just want to share my experiences of being a happy and content mum.


  1. April 2, 2019

    Excellent article. I did not know the difference between Bronchitis and Bronchiolitis. Your article clarified a lot of points for me.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 2, 2019

      I am glad that the post was helpful for you

  2. April 2, 2019

    Any ailment of the respiratory system is terrible. When it comes to little children, the situation becomes horrible. On the one hand, one feels helpless for their inability to help, on the other medicines like an antibiotic does not work. Small airways contribute to gas exchange. Any inflammation there can be very serious.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 2, 2019

      Yes Abhijit, the inability to help a sick child is very frustrating. Whenever my daughter falls sick I pray really hard for her. I guess that is the best a mom can do other than medicines and care.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 2, 2019

      Thank you Suhasini

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 2, 2019

      Thanks, Kalpana. Agree that children are more vulnerable to breathing problems.

  3. April 2, 2019

    U brought up such an important topic here Shubhra. Am glad I read this… Very informative

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 2, 2019

      Thanks, Kushal, I am happy that you enjoyed the post.

  4. April 2, 2019

    VEry rarely known disease. Definitely helps parents. Good one!

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 2, 2019

      Thanks, Sanjota!

  5. April 2, 2019

    Noted all the tips here. It’s a great post for mommies

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 2, 2019

      I am glad Saba that it is helpful

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