Autumn advances and bronchiolitis returns

In Spain, between 12,000 and 14,000 children under one year of age with acute bronchiolitis enter each year

When autumn comes, in health centers and hospitals care for many babies with bronchiolitis, one of the most common diseases among minors one year old. It appears mostly between October and January, which generates major epidemics. In Spain between 12,000 and 14,000 children with acute bronchiolitis. The frequency of hospitalizations in children under two years of age are between 1% and 3.5%, while primary care consultations for this cause are 4% to 20%. In the middle of the season, this article explains everything about bronchiolitis: what it is, its symptoms, how to act and how to prevent it.

What is bronchiolitis?

Bronchiolitis is an airway infection caused by a respiratory virus. The most common is respiratory syncytial virus, also called RSV.

Everyone is susceptible to being infected by this type of virus, but while an adult may notice his presence as a simple cold, for a baby can become a very serious problem.

Bronchiolitis mainly affects the little ones during their first year of life and increasingly to children under three months of age, even in his first 30 days. These children have the most are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of viruses.

What are the first symptoms of bronchiolitis?

Their first symptoms do not differ too much from those of the onset of a typical cold: they have nasal mucus (often transparent) and cough (which tends to be dry). Then… When do we have to start worrying?

While the first signs don't seem to be very alarming, at 2-4 days of onset it is noted that the baby has difficulty breathing: will breathe faster and sinking the skin between the ribs. In these cases, the virus is attacking the small airways, the air has difficulty passing through them and the child has to make a lot of effort to keep the air moving forward airways.

In these circumstances, the little one will be very tired and have difficulty eating. Sometimes you may develop some other symptoms such as fever.

What can be done in the face of symptoms of bronchiolitis?

If you see that your baby has difficulty breathing, you will definitely need to see your doctor. If it's mild, you may have to pass the infection at home, fractionating the feeding sockets, washing the nose so that (feel free to go to a physiotherapist who is an expert on the subject to guide you) and letting the body fight the infection.

But on quite a few occasions it will be necessary to put the child in the hospital, to give him oxygen, apply nebulizations or even more help breathing in the ICU.

Respiratory physiotherapy is not recommended at the highest time of bronchiolitis. But when the sharpest inflammation has subsided and there is excess mucus, physiotherapy techniques that are based on aspiration can improve a child's condition and, above all, prevent future complications from excess mucus.

Half of babies with bronchiolitis will be left with their bronchi more sensitive to new respiratory viruses and will have bronchitis of repetition during the first years of life. In these cases, when there is excess mucus in the lungs, physical therapy well-applied respiratory care is a key ally for the management of lung infections.

How to prevent bronchiolitis

Prevention is critical to preventing the disease from appearing. As it spreads like a cold, the measures to be taken in account will be as follows:

  • Always wash your hands with soap and water before catching or touching your baby.
  • Use disposable tissues and wash your hands after use and throw them away.
  • Clean with soap and water the objects that children touch, especially if someone has caught them.
  • Cough the other way by covering your mouth with your forearm.
  • Avoid smoking both inside the house and in the car. Tobacco makes airways are more sensitive to damage caused by airway Virus. Tobacco particles remain in the environment for a long time Time.
  • Ventilate stays daily, especially if there are people with cold or flu.
  • Monitor air quality, humidity (about 30%-40%) and the temperature.
  • Avoid crowds and places loaded and closed.
  • Delay the entrance to the nursery as much as possible.
  • Try to avoid direct contact of the baby with people with colds.

For more information, visit the Lovexair Foundation website or contact your healthcare professionals via mail:

Article publicat a "Eroski COnsumer" amb the work of The Lovexair-Respiratory Sick Foundation.

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