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Bronchiolitis

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Bronchiolitis

 

  

 

                                             Bronchiolitis anatomy PI

What is Bronchiolitis?

 

Bronchiolitis is a serious chest infection which is caused by a virus. The virus infects the small breathing tubes (bronchioles) of the lungs, causing inflammation, mucus production and breathing difficulties (Hawker, Begg, Reintjes and Weinberg, 2005).

 

The symptoms of Bronchiolitis begin like a cold with a runny nose, cough and fever. The coughing may become worse over a day or two and rapid breathing and wheezing can make feeding the child difficult. Wheezing when breathing out is a characteristic of bronchiolitis and it is advised that you seek medical advice if the child develops these symptoms (Hawker, Begg, Reintjes and Weinberg, 2005).

 

How Does Bronchiolitis Spread?

 

Bronchiolitis spreads by mouth-to-mouth contact and airborne droplets. It can also spread indirectly by contact with surfaces that have been contaminated by infectious airborne droplets (e.g. hands, tissues, toys and eating utensils).

 

Incubation Period

 

The incubation period is usually 5 days but can range from 2-8 days (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2010).

 

Infectious Period

 

People are infectious just before symptoms begin and during the active stages of the disease which is usually 1 week in total (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2012).

 

Treatment

 

Bronchiolitis is a viral infection, meaning that antibiotics will not help the child get better. It is recommended that the child sees a doctor. Some children may need to go to hospital for a short time to have specialised treatment. Children with bronchiolitis may be treated at home and may benefit from a warm, humid atmosphere (steam or humidifier). Fluid intake should be increased and paracetamol and decongestant medication may help relief a sore throat and other symptoms (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2012).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

 

Bronchiolitis in Children. Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network. 2006.

 

Hawker, J, Begg, N, Reintjes, R and Weinberg, J. (2005). Communicable disease control handbook, 2nd Edn. Blackwell Asia, Carlton, Australia.

 

National Health and Medical Research Council (2010). Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare, NHMRC, Canberra.

 

National Health and Medical Research Council (2012). Staying Healthy: Preventing diseases in early childhood education and care services 5th Edn. NHMRC, Canberra.

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