Babies and ChildrenBronchiolitis: what is it, symptoms and prevention?

Bronchiolitis: what is it, symptoms and prevention?

Bronchiolitis is a respiratory condition that affects newborns, infants, and young children each year. Knowing its symptoms will help you know if your baby has it or not. Also discover how to prevent it.

With the arrival of the cold (especially during winter), each year the cases of bronchiolitis increase, a fairly common disease that arises in the respiratory system, and causes an  infection that affects the bronchioles, the tiny airways that end flowing into the lungs.

As the infection increases and the bronchioles continue to swell, they tend to swell and fill with mucus, making it difficult for the nursing baby and young child to breathe.

In fact, it is a tremendously common type of infection during the winter months, which  mainly affects infants and young children because their airways are more easily obstructed, since they are much smaller in size. For this reason, it typically occurs during the first two years of life, with a higher incidence between three to six months of age.

What is bronchiolitis?

Bronchiolitis consists of an infection of the respiratory system and lungs of infants and young children, caused by various classes of viruses, among which is the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), one of its main causes but not the only one. Since we can also mention other less frequent such as influenza virus, adenovirus, parainfluenza and metapneumovirus.

There are certain risk factors that are related to the severity of the infection. The most important is age, so that children under 3 months of age have a higher risk of hospitalization. And among them premature babies, since their bronchi are even narrower still.

On the other hand, we can also mention other risk factors, such as the absence of breastfeeding, exposure to tobacco smoke and attendance at daycare centers.

What are your symptoms?

It is common for bronchiolitis to begin with the usual symptoms of a cold: a blocked nose and congestion due to mucus, a cough that lasts 2 or 3 days, and sometimes a fever.

Days later, it is common for the child to either not get worse, or to begin to breathe faster and with greater difficulty (for example, when breathing the ribs are marked and the abdomen rises or falls in an exaggerated way), and to cough more.

It is also extremely common to have noisy breathing, arising the typical wheezing that consists of a kind of high-pitched hiss that appears when breathing, or a sound like bubbling or more serious (rattle).

Before these symptoms, it is essential to consult a specialist, since the disease can progress to cause a change in color in the baby, indicating that the little one needs oxygen.

Can it be prevented?

Although, as we indicated, there are certain risk factors that cannot be prevented (such as the case of the baby being born prematurely), there are certain causes that, if avoided, can help prevent the appearance of bronchiolitis. In this sense, there are some useful tips such as:

  • Promote and maintain breastfeeding: it is essential for the growth and development of the baby, and in fact contains antibodies that protect it against common infections.
  • Avoid tobacco: not just you like mom or dad. It is essential to prevent anyone from smoking around your baby.
  • Maintain proper hygiene: washing your hands with soap and hot water regularly and more regularly.
  • Vaccine for the baby: it is essential to comply with the vaccination schedule, useful not only for the baby himself but also for the rest of the children, as there is greater protection against common diseases.

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