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Treating Bronchiolitis in Young Children

From the Show: Healthy Children
Summary: Bronchiolitis is the most common cause of hospitalization among infants under one year of age.
Air Date: 10/29/14
Duration: 10
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: Shawn Ralston, MD
RalstonShawnHeadShotDr. Ralston is section chief of Inpatient Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth and an Associate Professor at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. She is editor-in-chief of Hospital Pediatrics, an AAP medical journal and co-chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ bronchiolitis guideline committee. She has published extensively on acute viral bronchiolitis and currently leads the AAP Quality Improvement Innovation Network’s multi-hospital collaborative on improving bronchiolitis care.
Treating Bronchiolitis in Young Children
Bronchiolitis, a disorder commonly caused by viral infections of the lower respiratory tract, is the most common cause of hospitalization among infants under one year of age.

One of its symptoms is trouble breathing, which can be scary for parents and children.

Bronchiolitis often starts with signs of a cold, such as a runny nose, mild cough, and fever. After a day or two, the cough may get worse and the infant will begin to breathe faster.

There is no specific treatment for RSV or the other virus that cause bronchiolitis. Antibiotics are not helpful because they treat illnesses caused by bacteria, not viruses. However, you can try to ease your child's symptoms.

To relieve a stuffy nose:

Thin the mucus using saline nose drops recommended by your child's doctor. Never use nonprescription nose drops that contain any medicine.

Clear your baby's nose with a suction bulb. Squeeze the bulb first, then gently put the rubber tip into one nostril and slowly release the bulb. This suction will draw the clogged mucus out of the nose. This works best when your baby is younger than six months.

To relieve fever:

Give your baby acetaminophen (follow the recommended dosage for your child's age). Do not give your baby aspirin because it has been associated with Reye syndrome, a disease that affects the liver and brain. Check with your child's doctor first before giving any other cold medicines.

To prevent dehydration:

Make sure your baby drinks lots of fluid. She may want clear liquids rather than milk or formula. She may feed more slowly or not feel like eating because she is having trouble breathing.

Listen in as Dr. Shawn Ralston and Melanie Cole, MS, discuss the newest guidelines for the treatment of bronchiolitis.
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