Bronchiolitis – Causes and Symptoms of Bronchilitis
Bronchiolitis is an infection of the bronchioles, which are the small air passages in the lungs. This is a common infection of the lungs and is the cause of serious and severe lower respiratory tract infections in the infants. This is caused by a virus called respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). This infection usually occurs in the late fall to early spring. Symptoms include cough, runny nose and fever. A severe infection may cause increased breathing rate in children.
Causes of Bronchiolitis
The causes of this infection include:
- In about 85% of the cases, it is caused by the Respiratory syncytial virus.
- This virus is highly contagious and can easily spread through physical contact or contact with any infected object.
- The modes of transmission are by shaking hands, kissing and an infected tissue paper, table and toy.
- This virus can survive for 30 minutes on a person’s hands and can remain for about five hours on objects like cups and telephones.
- It can become airborne, when a person sneezes, laughs and coughs.
- The virus enters the body through the nasal and eye secretions.
- Adenoviruses also can cause severe symptoms of bronchiolitis.
Some of the greatest risk factors for getting bronchiolitis include:
- Younger than 6 months old.
- Children who have never been breast-fed.
- Having siblings who attend school or child care that brings home the infection.
- Exposure to tobacco.
- A depressed immune system.
- An underlying heart-lung condition.
- Premature birth.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of Bronchiolitis include:
- Pink eye that is the inflammation of the conjunctiva
- Flaring nostrils
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Inflammation of the middle ear, digestive tract or upper respiratory tract
- Throat infection
When to consult a Physician?
If your child experiences any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention:
- Refusal to drink fluids
- Exhaustion from trying to breathe
- Skin turning blue, especially around the lips and fingernails.
- Breathing very fast more than 40 breaths a minute
- Breathlessness while eating
- When you find the above symptoms, consult your physician immediately.