Bronchiolitis is a common and frequent disease of the respiratory system, usually due to an infection, which consists of a swelling and accumulation of mucus in the smallest airways of the lungs, called bronchioles. The bronchioles become swollen and filling with mucus, making breathing difficult.
Bronchiolitis generally affects children under two years of age , although the age of greatest prevalence is between three and six months, because their airways being smaller are obstructed more easily than that of older children .
THERE IS NO SPECIFIC TREATMENT FOR BRONCHIOLITIS, BUT MEDICATIONS ARE USUALLY GIVEN TO CLEAR THE AIRWAYS.
If the child is born prematurely, has suffered from another lung or heart disease or has a weakened immune system, the risk of suffering from bronchiolitis will increase, even in the future it could also suffer from asthma.
RISK FACTORS FOR BRONCHIOLITIS
Risk factors for bronchiolitis include:
– Exposure to cigarette smoke
– Age less than six months
– Living in crowded conditions
SYMPTOMS OF BRONCHIOLITIS
The first symptoms of bronchiolitis resemble those of the common cold , but later the characteristic symptoms are:
– Low fever
– Nasal congestion and runny nose
– The muscles around the ribs sag as the child tries to inhale (in the most severe cases)
– Nasal flaring in babies
– Rapid breathing (tachypnea)
– Lack of appetite
These symptoms last for about two days, but if bronchiolitis worsens, the cough will increase, the skin may turn bluish on the lips and nails , and breathing will begin with “whistles” or whistles.
CONTAGION OF BRONCHIOLITIS
You can get the virus if you come into direct contact with the nasal secretions or airborne droplets of someone who has the disease, through coughing, sneezing, or by touching objects that have been contaminated by the secretions of the sick person.
TREATMENT OF BRONCHIOLITIS
Sometimes no treatment is required. It should be noted that antibiotics are not effective against viral infections such as bronchiolitis, only in bacterial infections, and that most drugs do not help to treat bronchiolitis, so there is no specific treatment for this disease . Medicines are usually given to clear the child’s airway.
Complementary therapy is effective, including:
– Drink much liquid. Breast milk or formula is perfect for children under one year of age. Electrolyte-balanced drinks are safe for babies as well.
– Breathing moist air helps loosen sticky mucus. A humidifier can be used to humidify the air your child is breathing.
– Rest a lot, to avoid overexertion and consequent fatigue.
– Do not allow smoking anywhere near the child with bronchiolitis.
PREVENTION OF BRONCHIOLITIS
Since there is no vaccine against the VNS virus yet, to prevent the spread of viruses, it is best to wash your hands frequently . It is also important to keep children away from people with colds or coughs.
DURATION AND PROGNOSIS OF BRONCHIOLITIS
The incubation of bronchiolitis is between a few days and a week, depending on the type of infection that causes it.
Bronchiolitis usually lasts about 12 days, but in severe cases the cough persists for several weeks. The days of greatest intensity are in the 2nd and 3rd from the start of the cough.
Symptoms generally improve within a week, and shortness of breath usually improves by the third day.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS OF BRONCHIOLITIS
– Respiratory tract disease, including asthma, a posteriori.
– Respiratory insufficiency
– Additional infection, such as pneumonia.
BRONCHIOLITIS: WHEN TO CALL THE PEDIATRICIAN?
You should see a doctor immediately or go to the emergency service if the child with bronchiolitis:
– It is extremely tiring.
– Has a bluish color to the skin, nails or lips.
– Begins to breathe very fast.
– You have a cold that suddenly gets worse.
– Has respiratory distress.
– You experience nasal flaring or retraction of the chest muscles in an effort to breathe.