Bronchiolitis is a common lower respiratory infection which largely affects babies and toddlers. It can cause difficulty in breathing and feeding and in some cases does require a baby to spend some time in hospital for oxygen and support with feeding. The viral infection usually clears up in 2 – 3 weeks.
Early symptoms might appear similar to those of a general cough and cold, your baby may experience a runny nose and a cough.
As the illness progresses, the cough can get a bit more persistent and they may get a temperature. The baby might get a bit wheezy which you would notice as they breathe out.
When should I be worried?
The symptoms of bronchiolitis can as mentioned above last 2 – 3 weeks.
The time to get worried and seek extra support is:
If they have taken less than half of their feeds over the last two to three feeds.
They have a dry nappy for more than 12 hours.
Your baby is persistently wheezy.
They have a high temperature.
The Doctor will make an assessment of the child’s symptoms before making a formal diagnosis of bronchiolitis.
Who is most likely to be affected and when?
Bronchiolitis might affect 1 in 3 children in the UK at some point in their first year of their life. The most common age for them to be affected is between 3 – 6 months of age.
Statistics would suggest that up to half of all children will have had bronchiolitis by the age of 2. Hospitals do tend to be full of babies with bronchiolitis between the months of November to March and it is possible for a baby or toddler to get bronchiolitis more than once during the same season.
Caring for a patient with bronchiolitis
If you are looking after a baby at home. Make sure they are getting plenty of fluids and staying well hydrated. If they get a temperature you can give them paracetamol and ibuprofen to make them more comfortable.
Around 2 – 3% of babies who develop bronchiolitis will be admitted to hospital in the first year of their life for support with their breathing and or feeding.
You know your baby better than anyone else and if you are worried do not hesitate to seek further advice.
Here at Safety First we deliver a range of first aid courses to parents and professionals. If you would like to discuss a course please do get in touch.
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