Bronchiolitis in babies: key viral symptoms and treatments

When is it a medical emergency?

When is bronchiolitis considered to be a medical emergency?

· If your baby's tongue or lips turn blue (cyanosis)

· If your baby is pale or sweaty and having severe breathing difficulties

· If there appears to be long pauses in your baby's breathing

· It is very unlikely that this will happen but if it does please, dial 999 for urgent medical help.

What can you do to help your child with bronchiolitis?

Please remember that most cases are mild and clear up without any need for medical treatment within two to three weeks.

There is no specific medicine that can be given to 'kill' the virus, but there are some things you can do to make your baby more comfortable. These include:

· Encouraging fluid intake; frequent small feedings and extra water between feeds

· If your child is over two months of age, treat fever with paracetamol (follow the instructions on the packet)

· Keep your baby upright to help with their breathing. This is especially important when feeding

· Do not smoke around your child. If you have to smoke, wash your hands, face and change your clothes afterwards

· Saline (salt water) nasal drops from your chemist can be tried to help ease congestion as well.

If your child is unwell and unable to feed or maintain their oxygen levels, they may need a short time in hospital to receive oxygen and/or fluids to help with their recovery. An infected child can appear infectious for up to three weeks, even if the symptoms have gone.

What are the long-term effects of bronchiolitis?

Usually, bronchiolitis does not usually cause long-term breathing problems.

However, it can cause wheezing and coughing in some children for up to three or four months afterwards. If you are concerned, do get your child checked by a doctor.

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