If your baby’s struggling to breathe and has a wheezy cough, he could have bronchiolitis
What is bronchiolitis?
Bronchiolitis is a common infection that can cause breathing problems and a cough. It affects around a third of babies in their first year, and usually within the first six months of their life.
‘It develops in the lower airways in your baby’s lungs, making them swollen and inflamed and reducing the flow of air, causing a wheezy cough,’ says Dr Jeremy Hull, a paediatric respiratory specialist at The Children’s Hospital in Oxford.
Your baby is most likely to catch bronchiolitis between October and March when more viruses are circulating.
What causes bronchiolitis?
The same virus that can cause colds and ear infections. ‘This means that your baby may develop the cough alongside or after suffering a cold,’ says Jeremy.
‘By the age of two, almost all babies will have been infected with this bug and around 40% of those will have had bronchiolitis.’
This virus is spread easily when droplets containing the virus are coughed or sneezed and your baby breathes them in.
‘Try to minimise the risk of spreading the virus by catching sneezes in a tissue and washing your hands regularly,’ says Dr Graham Archard from the Royal College of GPs.
What are the symptoms of bronchiolitis?
The main symptom of bronchiolitis is a dry, wheezy cough. ‘Your baby’s breathing may be slightly laboured or fast,’ says Graham.
‘He could also have typical cold symptoms such as a blocked or runny nose, fever and difficulty feeding.’ In serious cases of bronchiolitis, you may notice that your baby is sucking in his chest and stomach as he breathes.
How can you treat bronchiolitis?
As bronchiolitis is caused by a virus, you can’t treat the illness itself, but you can treat some of the symptoms.
‘If your baby is feeding less, give him a smaller volume of milk or food, more frequently,’ says Jeremy. ‘Think every two hours, instead of every four hours.’ Fever can be reduced with infant paracetamol.
It’s not recommended that you use steam inhalation to treat your baby’s cough, though. ‘There’s little scientific proof that steam can actually help a cough, and it’s risky bringing your baby into contact with hot water,’ says Jeremy.
The illness usually lasts about nine days. It will get worse over three days, remain stable for three days and then start getting better over three days.
See your GP if…
Your baby is struggling to breathe. ‘You should take your baby straight to your doctor if he is flaring his nostrils, seems sleepy and lethargic and has had less than half of his usual amount of milk over the past 24 hours or no wet nappy for six hours or more,’ says Dr Hull.
About one in 50 babies with the condition develop severe bronchiolitis and need hospital care, but in most cases your baby will recover with treatment at home.
For more information visit the More Than a Cold website. Watch the More Than a Cold video below for more info about bronchiolitis.
Nearly 1 in 10 British women feel uncomfortable discussing their breastfeeding struggles with their partner, but it’s so important not to suffer in silence. Breastfeeding is natural, but that doesn't mean it will come naturally to every new mum
Beaba’s Babycook® Neo Bundle with Weaning Accessories in a contemporary Eucalyptus colourway is a package set of cooking and food preparation utensils to help you prepare fuss-free, nutritious meals for your little one.
After the past year being locked down with our families, we think our Mother&Baby mums deserve a bit of “me-time”. Our friends over at Asda Little Angels couldn’t agree more and they’re giving one lucky winner a £200 Treatwell voucher to indulge in some mummy maintenance, as well as a fantastic prize bundle of baby goodies.
When your baby is around 6 months, or in a size 4 nappy, they’ll likely be on the move and exploring their surroundings. Along with babyproofing everything in sight and having eyes in the back of your head, nappy pants should be at the top of your list.
Meet Wow Continental Travel System in Debut, your multi-terrain pram and pushchair great for both town and country. Delivering world-class performance, this pushchair has a striking continental design and is perfect for any situation thanks to multi-terrain suitability and dual suspension options. It’s built with you and your family in mind and the dual suspension mode means you can adapt to suit your environment.
b.box put the fun in functional with the creation of their award-winning sippy cup… and they didn’t stop there! What started out as an adventure for two mums to fill a product gap with a Nappy Wallet, has now grown to include a wide variety of fabulously fun products that help to make meal and travel time not only fun but gives the gift of independence to babies, toddlers and kids of all ages.
Pregnancy is an exciting time as you count down the months, weeks and days to the arrival of your little one. But it can also be a time of little worries, niggles and gripes - one of them being heartburn.
Weleda Natural Baby Care products have been specially formulated to protect and support the development of healthy skin and are safe for even the most sensitive skin of babies and children. The products are developed with the assistance of physicians and midwives and are dermatologically tested to give gentle, natural protection right from the start.