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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is bronchiolitis?
Bronchiolitis is a type of chest infection that commonly affects children under 12 months of age. It occurs when the very small airways in the lungs, called the bronchioles, become inflamed and swell up.
What are the symptoms of bronchiolitis?
At first, the symptoms of bronchiolitis may appear similar to those of a common cold. These may include a runny nose, a fever and coughing. As the condition progresses, the symptoms can also include fast breathing, wheezing, coughing and trouble …
What causes bronchiolitis?
Bronchiolitis is a common chest infection that affects the small airways in the lungs, called bronchioles. It is commonly caused by viruses, including the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and rhinoviruses, which cause the common cold, and the influenza virus, …
Who gets bronchiolitis?
Bronchiolitis is most common in babies under 12 months of age. Adults and children over 12 months of age can also get bronchiolitis, but this is not as common. Babies may develop severe bronchiolitis if they were born prematurely, are less than six weeks old, have a …
How is bronchiolitis diagnosed?
To diagnose bronchiolitis, a doctor may ask you questions about your baby's symptoms and if they have any other medical conditions. The doctor will use a stethoscope to listen to your baby's breathing and heartbeat. In particular, they will listen for …
How is bronchiolitis treated?
As bronchiolitis is usually caused by viruses, antibiotics will not help to clear the infection. Over-the-counter painkillers, such as acetaminophen, may help to relieve some of the symptoms such as fever. Allowing your baby to get plenty of rest, keeping them …
Is bronchiolitis contagious?
Yes, the viruses and bacteria that cause bronchiolitis are infectious and can be easily passed on to another person. Bronchiolitis can be spread by breathing in the droplets from a sneeze or a cough of an infected person.
If my baby has bronchiolitis, will he develop asthma later in life?
Many children who develop bronchiolitis as a baby go on to develop asthma later in life. The link between the two conditions is not clear. It is not known whether bronchiolitis increases the risk of asthma, or whether …
About this article
Author: Dr Joanne Van der Velden PhD, BSc (Hons)
First answered: 26 Nov 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.3 out of 5
Votes: 1562 (Click smiley face below left to rate)