Signs and symptoms

  • Symptoms similar to asthma
  • Coughing, often with very sticky phlegm
  • Rapid breathing
  • Tight breathing ( your child has to push the air out)
  • Onset of lung symptoms often preceded by fever and runny nose
  • On stethoscope auscultation, there will be wheezing sound, a high-pitched whistling sound produced during breathing out



bronchiolitis anatomy



  • It is an acute viral infection of the small air passages of the lungs called the bronchioles
  • It causes inflammation of the bronchioles and makes it become narrowed
  • It occurs primarily in young infants, most often in those aged 2-24 months
  • It is caused by respiratory viruses, especially respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  • It transmits via oral droplet



  • Give nebulized bronchodilator help to open up the narrowed airways and decrease wheezing
  • Oral bronchodilator
  • Oral steroid medication may be used short term to help decrease the inflammation within the bronchial tubes
  • Antibiotic is not commonly prescribed unless there is suspected secondary bacterial pneumonia (lung infection)
  • Admitted to hospital if the baby is exhausted in breathing for intravenous fluid, frequent nebulized bronchodilator and oxygen



  • Usually with treatment, the cough will resolve within 2 weeks
  • After recover, it is common for the airways to remain sensitive for several weeks, leading to recurrent cough and wheeze, which is post-bronchiolitic symptoms




Dangerous signs that parents must know:

  • Breathing becomes labored or difficult
  • The wheezing becomes severe (tight)
  • Breathing becomes faster than 60 breathes/minute (when your child is not crying)
  • The lips become bluish



  • Avoid contact with other children who have bronchiolitis or upper respiratory infections. If there is an ill child in the home, separate him or her from other children
  • If your child has bronchiolitis, keep him or her home from school or day care until he or she gets better
  • Wash your hands often to prevent spreading the disease
  • Do not smoke or use other tobacco products around your child
  • Breast feeding your baby