Saturday, April 8, 2023

Bronchiolitis affects many children. Is it dangerous? And is there a cure?



What is bronchiolitis?

Bronchitis is a viral disease that affects the small bronchioles of infants and causes internal inflammation that results in the closure of these bronchioles and increased secretion of mucus that blocks them, making breathing difficult.

Since this is a disease caused by a virus, there is no cure for it, so the treatment is to help the infant recover on his own by trying to relieve symptoms, and good nutrition so that his immune system can fight it.

Therefore, bronchiolitis does not require:


Antibiotics:

Because it is directed to eliminate bacteria, not viruses.

Anti-inflammatories:

Because it has not been proven effective in treating bronchiolitis, and it may weaken the immune system, making the infant more susceptible to bacterial infection.

Antitussives:

Because coughing is a protective reaction that allows the infant to expel the mucus and secretions accumulated inside the lungs, and inhibiting this reflex causes the secretions to remain and exacerbate shortness of breath.

bronchioles dilators:

Like salbutamol because in this case, the bronchioles are blocked by secretions, not by their contraction.

Physiotherapy to remove secretions:

Because it did not prove any effectiveness in reducing the duration of the disease. It may even lead to complications and unnecessarily torture the infant.

Aerosol spray:

It has not been proven effective.

So what is the treatment?

Clean the nose well every two hours or before feeding and sleeping, to allow the infant to breathe comfortably, as infants do not breathe through the mouth. It also allows excretion of secretions that cause coughing:

  • Place the infant in a sitting position of 30 degrees, so that secretions do not accumulate inside the lungs.
  • Continuing breastfeeding on demand, taking into account the infant's ability to suck and not forcing him to complete the feeding, but rather being patient with him and giving him rest periods until he takes a good breath.
  • If he is over 6 months old, give him plenty of fluids.
  • Avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Ventilate the room well.
  • Use paracetamol to reduce fever with water compresses and avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (AINS).

When do I visit the doctor?

You should go to the doctor if:
  • You notice a change in the child's breathing (rapidity, or shortness of breath)
  • If it becomes bluish, or pale.
  • If you notice a change in his normal condition (lack of response, lack of play, fatigue, ...)
  • Undernutrition by more than 50%.

In these cases, hospitalization may be required to provide oxygen to the infant and feeding through a gastric tube or vein.