SPG Guide to Bronchiolitis


Your SPG provider has diagnosed your baby with Bronchiolitis. Bronchiolitis is a viral infection and inflammation of the bronchioles or tubes that carry air to and from the lungs. Bronchiolitis is most commonly caused by the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The virus causes your baby to have more airway mucus and secretions. Babies get RSV through air droplets. To prevent RSV we suggest good hand washing and avoiding being around other sick children.

Do not smoke around your baby!

RSV peaks from November to March.

Bronchiolitis is diagnosed clinically by your provider. Babies present with congestion, cough, low grade fever and/or decreased appetite. In hospitals, the virus can be tested from nasal secretions. This does NOT affect treatment decisions and only helps for infection control measures in the hospitals.

Bronchiolitis and RSV are viral. Therefore, no antibiotics will shorten the time or severity of the illness. The best treatment is to ensure your baby is drinking well and producing wet diapers. Suctioning your baby's nose prior to feeding, encouraging feed time, cool mist humidifiers, saline to the nostrils, may all help keep your baby comfortable. If your baby is greater than (>) 3 months old and has a fever, Tylenol (acetaminophen) may be given. Cough medicine and decongestants have been studied and proven NOT to work and may decrease your baby's ability to cough/breathe effectively. Very young babies, babies born prematurely or with chronic medical conditions are at higher risk for needing hospitalization.

Premature babies may receive monthly injections to prevent RSV.

Hospitalization treatment provides oxygen, IV fluids and close monitoring. No other treatments have yet been shown to shorten the duration or severity of the illness. Your provider will help you to determine if your baby requires admission to the hospital.

If your baby is having a lot of trouble breathing, turns blue or is very, very pale, call 911. If you are unsure if your baby needs to be checked please call our office and either ask for an appointment or to speak with one of our nurses. We would be happy to see you as often as you would like.

Things to look for and call the office if you notice

  1. Increased rate of breathing
  2. Significant pauses between breaths
  3. Wheezing or whistling (singing) with breaths
  4. Pulling/sucking in between or below the ribs or at the base of the throat
  5. Flaring in/out of the nostrils with breaths
  6. Feeding less than normal in amount or number of feedings /fewer wet diapers
  7. Fever greater than (>) 100.4 and less than 3 months of age

**Bronchiolitis cough/wheezing typically lasts from several days to up to 2 months. Please know it is very important that you call our office if you have any questions/concerns. This virus can be very frustrating and scary. You are not alone, and you can always call! We are here for you and your baby!**

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