• Bronchiolitis is an infection of the lower part of the lung called bronchioles
  • Bronchiolitis usually affect children younger than 2 years of age
  • In most cases bronchiolitis goes away on its own, however, some children with bronchiolitis need to be seen by doctor or need hospitalization
  • Bronchiolitis is typically caused by Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) – the most common cause
  • RSV infection is very common and contagious
  • Most children have this infection at least once by age of 2-3
  • Re-infection is also very common however it’s usually milder
  • RSV is not something to worry about however in certain younger kids <2 years and certain high risk kids it can cause bronchiolitis or pneumonia
  • Children older than 2 year typically do not cause bronchiolitis but can be infected with RSV

Transmission of infection

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Sharing food or drinks
  • Direct contact

Signs and Symptoms of bronchiolitis

  • Usually begin like mild cough, stuffy or runny nose, etc.
  • Fever (temperature higher than 100.4o F)
  • Decreased appetite
  • As infection progress other symptoms can start,
  • Worsening cough (can last for 14 days or longer)
  • Wheezing (usually last about 7 days)
  • Rapid breathing /trouble in breathing
  • Trouble eating and drinking (because lots of energy use in breathing)
  • Discoloration of lips and fingers (lack of supply of oxygen)

What Parents Can Do

  • In healthy child symptoms resolve in 1-2 week
  • Gentle suctioning of the nose
  • Encourage child to drink more liquids to prevent dehydration
  • Use humidifier in your child’s room
  • Treat fever with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) if child appears uncomfortable with fever
  • Over the counter Cough and cold medications are not advisable as they may cause side effects and are not effective in the young child
  • Avoid second hand smoke exposure
  • Watch for worsening symptoms very closely

When to Call Your Pediatrician

  • If child has breathing difficulties
  • If child is younger than 2 or 3 months and has a fever >100.4o F
  • Child older than 3 months and has fever >100.4o F for more than 3 days
  • Child shows signs of dehydration, such as a dry mouth, crying without tears, and urinating less often

Call 911

  • If your child stops breathing
  • Start to turn blue or very pale
  • Has hard time breathing
  • Start grunting
  • Looking tired of having hard breathing.


  • Washing your and your child’s hand often with soap and water or alcohol hand rubs
  • Staying away from other adult and children who are sick
  • Getting flu shot every year for you and your child
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