Bronchiolitis is a common, seasonal viral respiratory tract infection in infancy accounting for the majority of hospital admissions in children less than 1 year of age. Supportive care is the mainstay of treatment and usually takes the form of ensuring adequate fluid intake and control of any difficulty breathing. Sometimes children with bronchiolitis will need additional oxygen to make sure that the oxygen levels in the blood are at an adequate level.
Why are babies affected by Bronchiolitis?
Bronchiolitis is usually caused by a virus, which in older children would cause nothing more than cold like symptoms. In very young infants the airways are smaller than in older children. If these airways become infected with a viral infection, this can result in inflammation with the production of secretions which interfere with the smooth flow of air in and out of the lungs. This results in the increased work of breathing that is seen in this disease.
Following an episode of bronchiolitis, a child may have a persistent residual cough for upto 3 weeks but there should not be any signs of difficulty in breathing with this cough.
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