Bronchiolitis

​Bronchiolitis is usually caused by a virus known as the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). By the age of two, 95 % of infants have been infected with RSV and 30% of them will develop pulmonary symptoms. Excessive mucus the child is unable to remove by coughing accumulates in the alveoli. RSV is very easily spread, but its transmission can be limited by good hand hygiene.

Symptoms

 

  • cough
  • excessive mucus production
  • increased heart rate
  • frequent, shallow breathing
  • fatigue, drowsiness
  • the child is too tired to feed/eat
  • child gasps for breath
  • greyish skin colour

 

When to seek medical assistance

Bronchiolitis commonly occurs in infants who are too young to be able to explain their symptoms. If you suspect your child is having breathing difficulties, seek medical assistance without delay. At the clinic, your child's condition can be relieved by administering nebulised medications, supplemental oxygen and by sucking the mucus out from the airways. A mucus sample is sent to the laboratory and tested to determine if the infection is caused by RSV. If frequent nebuliser doses are required, your child may be admitted to hospital.