Bronchioles are small airways in your lungs. "-Itis" means inflammation. So bronchiolitis is inflammation of the small airways in the lungs. The inflammation makes it hard for children to breathe. Bronchiolitis happens in babies and children under age 2 years.
Several different viruses can cause bronchiolitis. RSV (respiratory syncytial virus Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Infection The respiratory tract is the parts of the body related to breathing (respiration). It includes the nose, windpipe, air passages in the lungs, and the lungs. RSV is a virus that infects the respiratory... read more ) is the most common cause. Bronchiolitis is most common in winter when viruses spread easily.
Doctors think bronchiolitis may be more common and more serious for babies whose mothers smoke cigarettes, especially if their mothers smoked during pregnancy.
At first, your baby has symptoms of a cold, such as:
The cough may last for 2 to 3 weeks or more.
After 3 to 5 days, your baby may have:
Trouble breathing—a baby or child may take fast breaths and make a high pitched sound when breathing out (wheezing Wheezing in Infants and Children Wheezing is a whistling sound that happens when a person is trying to breathe out, but the airways in the lungs are partly blocked. Wheezing is common in asthma, but it can also be caused by... read more )
Many babies with bronchiolitis have only mild symptoms.
With severe bronchiolitis, your baby or child may have a lot of trouble breathing and symptoms like:
Doctors will have you treat children with mild symptoms at home:
If your child has a lot of trouble breathing, your child may have to be admitted to the hospital. Usually doctors will:
Antibiotics don't help bronchiolitis.