A common illness of the respiratory tract it is most common in infants and young children usually in the first 2 years of life but with the strongest occurrence between 3-6months of age. Due to their airways being smaller which in effect can get blocked a lot easier than older kids or adult, Bronchiolitis is caused by an infection that effect a persons airways known as bronchioles, which lead to the lungs. As the bronchioles gets inflamed they will swell and get filled with mucus which will make breathing difficult. This illness is more common in males, children who have not been breast fed and those children who live in crowded conditions. Bronchiolitis is usually caused by a viral infection, most commonly a breathing virus known as Respiratory Syncytial Virus which are responsible for more than half of all cases of Bronchiolitis and are mostly widespread through winter and early spring.
The early symptoms are those similar to a common cold, one of the very first symptoms is usually a runny nose and maybe a slight cough or fever (higher than normal which is 36-36.8 degrees Celsius).
Later symptoms, a rasping or dry cough, noisy or rapid breathing, pauses in their breathing, fewer wet nappies, vomiting after a feed and feeling irritated (not able to settle), symptoms usually get worse in the first 3 days then will improve gradually.
There are many other ways that children can develop Bronchiolitis such as being in nursery and exposure to cigarette smoke not just first hand cigarette smoke as a lot of people think that just because they smoke in a different room and shut the door, that it will not effect the baby as this is not the case and it can have consequences such as Bronchiolitis and it is no way fair on the child smoke lingers on things for hours on your breath, clothes, objects in the room that is designated as the smoking room ( if a kitchen cutlery, babies bottle etc).
Although it is often a mild illness, some infants can be at risk for the illness to turn into a more serious disease such as prematurely, prior chronic heart or lung disease, and a weekend immune system due to illness or medications these serious illnesses are more than likely going to require a child to be hospitalized.
Children are more likely to develop asthma later in life although it is unsure weather Bronchiolitis causes or triggers this or weather when the child was prone to Bronchiolitis in the first place due to them being an asthmatic later in life. Other viruses that can be associated with Bronchiolitis include, rhinovirus, influenza (flu), and human metapneumovirus.
Bronchiolitis can be treated at home. antibiotics ,which are used to treat infections caused by bacteria are not effective against Bronchiolitis. If child has an associated bacterial infection, such as pneumonia, A doctor may prescribe antibiotics for the illness, although antibiotics are not effective against viral infections. Sometimes, no treatment is necessary. Supportive therapy may include oxygen, humidified air, chest clapping(postural drainage to remove secretions), rest and clear fluids. Other medicines used in the hospital may include albuterol (a medication normally used in asthma) or steroids. In extremely ill children, antiviral medications (such as ribavirin) are sometimes used. Antiviral treatment may decrease the severity and duration of the illness. To be effective, it must be administered early in the course of the illness. In the hospital, oxygen levels are monitored with a sensor on a finger, toe, or an earlobe, and oxygen is given by an oxygen tent or face mask. A ventilator may be needed to assist breathing. Intravenous fluids are given if the child cannot drink adequately. Inhaled drugs that open the airways (bronchodilators) may be tried, although their effectiveness in Bronchiolitis is questionable.