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Bronchiolitis - What it is

bronchiolitis conditions and treatments child illnesses

Bronchiolitis is a common infection in young children, occurring mainly in infants and children less than two years old. It is caused by viruses that affect the small air passages in the lungs.

The illness begins as a cold, leading to cough and breathlessness. This may interfere with feeding and sleep. Babies with bronchiolitis are usually sick for three to five days and gradually recover over the next three days. However, the cough may persist for two to three weeks.

Bronchiolitis is usually mild and treatment is largely supportive eg. rest, adequate feeding and fluid intake, and fever medication if fever is present. However, if your child develops shortness of breath or poor feeding, he/she may require admission to the hospital for further treatment. Treatment may involve the use of oxygen, nebuliser treatment, tube feeding or intravenous drip and other medications.​

Bronchiolitis - Symptoms

Bring your child to the doctor if he/she:

  • Has difficulty breathing
  • Is unable to sleep due to cough or breathing difficulty
  • Appears lethargic
  • Is easily irritable and difficult to calm down
  • Is not feeding or taking fluids well
  • Has not wet the diapers in the last six to eight hours and his/her lips are dry
  • Has pale or greyish skin colour (late sign)

Bronchiolitis - How to prevent?

Bronchiolitis - Causes and Risk Factors

Bronchiolitis - Diagnosis

Bronchiolitis - Treatments

Bronchiolitis - Preparing for surgery

Bronchiolitis - Post-surgery care

Bronchiolitis - Other Information

Caring for your child upon discharge from hospital

  • Use medications as directed by your doctor
  • Clear your child's nose of mucus regularly
  • Laying your child on his/her back with the cot angled upwards at 30° to 45° or on the side may help him/her to breathe easier
  • Avoid exposure to smoke
  • Wash your hands frequently, especially after handling your child
  • Seek medical care if there are persistent symptoms after one week
The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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