Signs & Symptoms
When your child develops the following symptoms:
- Wheezing: a high pitched whistling sound produced during breathing out
- Rapid breathing with a rate of over 40 breaths/minute
- Laboured or difficult breathing
- Symptoms similar to asthma
What causes it
Wheezing is caused by narrowing of the small airways in the lung (bronchioles). This narrowing results from inflammation (swelling) caused by any of a number of viruses, usually the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Whereas infants with RSV develop bronchiolitis, older children and adults just develop cold symptoms. This virus is found in nasal secretions of infected individuals. It is spread by sneezing, coughing, hand-to-nose or hand-to-eye contact.
About the condition
Bronchiolitis is an infection of the small airways of the lungs.
When would I expect my child to recover?
The wheezing and tight breathing may worsen for 3-5 days and then begin to improve. The wheezing may last more than 7 days and the cough more than 14 days. Children with bronchiolitis do not usually need to be hospitalized unless they need oxygen or intravenous fluids.
When should I bring my child to see the doctor?
Please bring your child to Children's Emergency if
- Breathing becomes laboured or difficult
- Breathing becomes faster than 60 breaths/minute
(when your child is not crying)
- Your child is lethargic or refuses to feed, irritable or restless
NUH Children's Emergency: 6772 2555
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
You should bring your child to your doctor to get the right medicine.
Continue the medicine until your child's wheezing is gone for 24 hours. In addition, your child can be given acetaminophen (paracetamol) every 4 to 6 hours if the fever is over 38°C.
Post Op Care/Care tips
Nasal washes for a blocked nose
If the nose is blocked up, your child will not be able to breastfeed or drink from a bottle. Most stuffy noses are blocked by dry or sticky mucus. Place three drops of saline in each nostril. After about 1 minute, use a soft rubber suction bulb to suck it out. You can repeat this procedure several times until your child's breathing through the nose becomes quiet and easy.
Encourage your child to drink adequate fluids. Eating is often tiring, so offer your child formula or breast milk in smaller amounts at more frequent intervals. If your child vomits during a coughing spasm, you may try to feed the child again.
Tobacco smoke aggravates coughing. The incidence of prolonged wheezing increases greatly in children who have an RSV infection and are exposed to passive smoking. Don't let anyone smoke around your child. In fact, try not to let anybody smoke inside your home.