Bronchitis in Children

Bronchitis in Children

Children when they get a cold also tend to get a cough. In most of the cases, it occurs due to bronchitis which is an inflammation of the lining of the trachea and bronchi. It is usually a mild illness that affects children.

Having a child who is constantly getting a cold or having breathing problems is not easy. Parents usually tend to worry about the health of their child, especially when these problems are recurrent.

Bronchitis usually results from a viral infection that causes swelling and inflammation of the inner lining of the trachea and bronchi. Except the swelling and inflammation, an increased production of mucus is also common. This causes a cough, which is sometimes severe.

Other signs and symptoms include a sore throat, mild fever, a runny nose and then tend to develop a cough. Firstly, the cough is dry and then tends to get moist. In severe cases a shortness of breath, as well as wheezing are present.

Children who are born before time, children who have any lung or heart problems, children who have a decreased immune system, as well as children who are exposed to tobacco smoke are at a higher risk of having severe problems with the respiratory system as well as bronchitis.

There is nothing to worry as long as the signs and symptoms are mild to moderate. The signs and symptoms usually tend to resolve within 10 days. Some children, however, tend to have severe signs and symptoms and bronchitis tends to get chronic. Bronchitis can sometimes occur due to an allergic, which is known as allergic bronchitis.

How is Bronchitis treated?

As mentioned, bronchitis tends to resolve on its own within 10 days. Antibiotics are usually not effective as it is a viral infection. However, if your child is dealing with a bacterial infection, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics.

Before you go and see a doctor, make sure to follow these simple steps:

  • Give plenty of fluids to your child – fluids prevent the dehydration but it also relieves the congestion.
  • Humidify the room where your child sleeps and plays, especially in a dry climate. A humidifier will help your child breathe easier.
  • Use saline nasal drops – you can buy nasal drops over the counter and they should be put in the child’s nostril in order to relieve the congestion. 
  • Make sure that your child rests – when having a cold or flu, as well as when having a diagnosed bronchitis your child should get plenty of rest. The room should be warm and clean without tobacco smoke.
  • If your child has a fever, give him or her acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Aspirin is not recommended for young children as it is associated with Reye’s syndrome. It is a serious medical condition, which luckily occurs rarely, but is also fatal.
  • Avoid cough suppressants as this will just ease a cough for a while, but the mucus will stay inside of the lungs. Coughing helps the child get rid of the mucus, which will reduce the healing process.
  • Bronchodilator medications, as well as corticosteroids, are recommended for children diagnosed with asthma, so make sure to give them regularly to your child.

Can we prevent bronchitis?

Bronchitis is not a contagious infection. It can be prevented by washing the hands normally, by having a normal diet, by sleeping and resting. For children over the age of 6-months-old, annual flu shots are recommended in order to protect him or her from the infection.