Infant bronchiolitis is quite common and specific to very young children under the age of 2. Bronchiolitis typically occurs between October and March, with a spike during the holiday season. A viral infection mainly caused by respiratory syncytial virus (or RSV), it often occurs in small epidemics in nursery. This disease requires prompt treatment to prevent its possible evolution into a more serious form.
To find out if a baby is affected by bronchiolitis, the doctor or pediatrician will ask parents about the attitude of the child and any respiratory discomfort. He will then proceed to a clinical examination, and pay particular attention to the baby's breathing and the presence of crackles or wheezing upon auscultation of the lungs. A chest X-ray is sometimes done in cases of doubt to eliminate the possibility of a lung infection. No other further examination is required.
Bronchiolitis in infants manifests itself in different ways. The most common symptoms occur after a period of one to two days with:
- difficulty breathing and a shortness breath;
- a moderate temperature usually between 38∞ C and 39∞ C;
- spitting up;
- persistent runny nose.
If a child has great difficulty breathing, consulting a doctor is urgent.
Bronchiolitis in infants spontaneously heals within a few days, although coughing may persist for a few more days. To relieve their child, parents should take care to clean his nose with saline several times per day. The elevation of the head of the bed 10 to 30 ∞ by placing a pillow UNDER the mattress can help the child to breathe, especially at night. Splitting up meals is also recommended.. Bronchiolitis in infants is a condition to be taken seriously, especially in children under 1 year old, and most particularly in those less than 6 weeks old, for whom hospital care is required.
To prevent bronchiolitis in infants, there is a monthly injection given during the first two winters for the most vulnerable children. Good hand hygiene and a lack of contact between a child and a sick individual are givens.