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What is bronchiolitis: causes, symptoms and possible treatments

sad sick little girl

Bronchiolitis: what it is, causes, symptoms, treatments and how to recognize it in newborns.

Bronchiolitis, a more common respiratory infection in infants and young children, is caused by a virus, most often respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). It narrows the airways and makes breathing difficult. Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, and difficulty breathing. In severe cases, the child may experience respiratory failure and must be hospitalized for treatment. In less serious cases, another type of treatment is sufficient. Let's find out everything you need to know about this disease.

Bronchiolitis Symptoms

Bronchiolitis is a respiratory infection that affects the small airways in the lungs, called bronchioles. Infection causes them to become inflamed and narrowed , which makes it difficult for the lungs to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide. It is usually more common in children, but can also occur in adults. The most common symptoms of this disease are cough and wheezing .

sad sick little girl
sad sick little girl

The cough can be severe and accompanied by chest congestion . Wheezing is a high-pitched whistle that is heard when the baby exhales. The newborn may also have a rapid heart rate, fever, and difficulty breathing.

What are the causes of bronchiolitis?

As we have already mentioned, bronchiolitis is usually caused by a virus, most commonly the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The latter is a very common virus and can cause a wide range of diseases, from a mild cold to much more serious ones. However, there are also other viruses that can cause bronchiolitis, including influenza, adenovirus, and parainfluenza virus. Bacterial infections can also cause bronchiolitis, but this is much less common.

There are a number of things that can increase a baby's risk of contracting bronchiolitis, including exposure to cigarette smoke , premature birth, and a family history of lung problems.

How to treat bronchiolitis in children

Bronchiolitis can become a serious illness and can occasionally lead to bronchitis or pneumonia , particularly in young children and those with pre-existing health conditions. There is no specific cure, but treatment focuses on relieving symptoms . For this reason it may include the use of a nebulizer to deliver medication directly to the lungs. Most cases of bronchiolitis clear up on their own within one to two weeks . In severe cases, hospitalization may be required for supplemental oxygen and treatment for respiratory failure.

However, early diagnosis and treatment are important to ensure that the child receives the best possible outcome. If you suspect your child has bronchiolitis, then see your pediatrician right away.

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