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- Age—most likely in children under the age of two, especially between 3-6 months old
- Season—winter months have highest risk
Factors that increase risk in adults include:
- Exposure to toxic fumes
Children most at risk are those who:
- Were never breastfed
- Were born prematurely
- Are exposed to tobacco smoke
- Are often in groups of children (as in day care) or live in crowded conditions
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Slight fever
- Cough (dry)
- Red eyes
- Fast rate of breathing
- Difficulty breathing
- Wheezing (a whistling noise that is louder when breathing out)
- Bluish color in the skin, especially around the lips or nails
- Poor feeding
- Is vomiting and can’t keep liquids down
- Is breathing very fast (more than 40 breaths in one minute)
- Has bluish skin, especially around the lips or on the fingertips
- Has to sit up to breathe
- Was born prematurely or has a history of heart disease
- Appears dehydrated
- Listen to the child’s lungs to check for abnormal breathing sounds, such as wheezing
- Sample mucus from nose or throat to test for the virus that may be causing the infection
- Have the child drink clear liquids.
- Use a vaporizer in the bedroom.
- If your child is coughing and very congested, consider sitting in a steamy bathroom. Run hot water from the shower. Sit in the bathroom with your child until the coughing eases.
- Do not smoke around your child. Keep your child away from smoke.
- Consider acetaminophen (eg, Children’s or Infant’s Tylenol) if a fever is present. Note : Aspirin is not recommended for children or teens with a current or recent viral infection. This is because of the risk of Reye's syndrome . Ask your doctor which other medicines are safe for your child.
- Your doctor may also recommend or give your child an inhaled medication. This may include a bronchodilator or hypertonic saline. These medications can help open airways and ease breathing.
American Academy of Family Physicians http://www.familydoctor.org/
Kids Health http://kidshealth.org/
The Canadian Lung Association http://www.lung.ca/
The Canadian Paediatric Society http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/
Bronchiolitis and your child. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/bronchiolitis.html . Updated January 2010. Accessed July 19, 2012.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection in infants and children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated April 7, 2012. Accessed July 19, 2012.
Gadomski AM, Bhasale aL: Bronchodilators for bronchiolitis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2006 :CD001266.
Smyth RL, Openshaw PJ. Bronchiolitis. Lancet. 2006;368:312-322.
Steiner RWP. Treating acute bronchiolitis associated with RSV. Am Fam Physician. 2004;69:325-330.
8/10/2007 according to the following study, as cited by DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Corneli HM, Zorc JJ, Majahan P, et al. A multicenter, randomized, controlled trial of dexamethasone for bronchiolitis. N Engl J Med. 2007;357:331-339.
2/5/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : Panickar J, Lakhanpaul M, Lambert PC, et al. Oral prednisolone for preschool children with acute virus-induced wheezing. N Engl J Med. 2009;360:329-338.
- Reviewer: Kari Kassir, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013
- Update Date: 09/30/2013