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- Season—winter months have highest risk
Factors that increase the risk in adults include:
- A weak immune system
- 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 a day care) or live in crowded conditions
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Slight fever
- Dry cough
- 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
- A test of a sample of mucus from the nose or throat
- Blood tests
- Encourage your child to 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 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 medications are safe for your child.
- Your doctor may also prescribe an inhaled medication. This may include a bronchodilator or hypertonic saline. These medications can help open airways and ease breathing.
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://www.familydoctor.org
Kids Health—Nemours Foundation http://kidshealth.org
The Canadian Lung Association http://www.lung.ca
Caring for Kids—The Canadian Paediatric Society http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca
Bronchiolitis. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/bronchiolitis.html . Updated February 2014. Accessed September 8, 2014.
Bronchiolitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 22, 2014. Accessed September 8, 2014.
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 http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: 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: 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: 08/2014
- Update Date: 09/08/2014