Parents, grandparents, caretakers of young children: Are you familiar with Bronchiolitis? You should be. Statistics show that more than half of all infants are exposed to the Bronchiolitis virus by their first birthday. And Centra Care numbers are showing that it is What’s Going Around right now in Central Florida.
Bronchiolitis usually affects children under the age of 2, with a peak age of 3 – 6 months. It is a common, and sometimes severe illness that is best treated by a physician. RSV is the most common cause of Bronchiolitis.
The virus is spread through nasal fluids or airborne droplets from someone who has it. This may happen if the person sneezes or coughs near you. Bronchiolitis is seasonal and appears more often in the fall and winter months. It usually begins as mild upper respiratory infection and then over a period of 2 – 3 days, the child develops more breathing problems, including wheezing and a “tight” wheezy cough.
- Breathing difficulty, including wheezing and shortness of breath
- Muscles around the ribs sink in as the child tries to breathe in
- Nasal flaring
- Rapid breathing
Sometimes, no treatment is necessary. Antibiotics do not work against viral infections. If your child is diagnosed with Bronchiolitis, make sure they are:
- Drinking plenty of fluids. Breast milk or formula are okay for children younger than 12 months. Electrolyte-balanced drinks, such as Pedialyte, are also okay to use for infants.
- Breathing moist (wet) air to help loosen mucus. You can use a cool-mist humidifier to moisten the air in your child’s room.
- Getting plenty of rest.
Usually, symptoms get better within a week. Breathing difficulty usually gets better by the third day.