We check with Dr Christelle Tan, specialist in Paediatric Medicine, Raffles Specialist @ RafflesHolland Villageon bronchiolitis.
WORDS JOANNA ONG
What it is
An acute illness which may start off with flu-like symptoms but progresses to cause inflammation of the small airways in the lungs.
Fever, cough, runny nose, difficulty breathing, wheezing.
Treatment (and ways to help them recover faster)
As this is a viral infection, the child recovers with time. However, the most critical period would be the third to fifth day of the illness as the child’s symptoms may worsen before improving thereafter. Medications given generally treat the symptoms but not the underlying infection. There are a proportion of children who respond to treatment with nebulisers for their wheezing. Some children with more severe symptoms may require oxygen therapy or even ventilation support.
When to see the doctor/bring to A&E
If the child’s food intake is much reduced or has signs of dehydration, medical attention should be sought. Apart from that, bronchiolitis can cause breathing difficulties. If you notice your child has rapid breathing, has difficulty feeding or has an audible wheeze, please bring him to the doctor. In severe cases of breathing difficulty, some children might turn blue.
As with URTIs, these viral infections are spread through respiratory droplets from infected persons. Try to keep your children away from those who are having flu-like illnesses. Family members who are ill are discouraged from close interaction with the child during illness and are encouraged to wear a mask at home.