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Your child has bronchiolitis, which causes swelling and mucus to buildup in the smallest air passages of the lungs. In the hospital, the doctors and nurses helped your child breathe better. They also made sure your child received enough liquids.
Most children will still have symptoms of bronchiolitis after they leave the hospital:
Breathing moist (wet) air helps loosen the sticky mucus that may be choking your child. You can use a humidifier to make the air your child is breathing moist. Follow the directions that came with the humidifier.
Do not use steam vaporizers because they can cause burns. Use cool mist humidifiers instead.
If your child’s nose is blocked up, your child will not be able to drink or sleep easily. You can use warm tap water or saline nose drops to loosen the mucus. Both of these work better than any medicine you can buy. Follow these steps:
Everyone who touches your child must wash their hands with warm water and soap or an alcohol-based hand cleaner before doing so. Try to keep other children away from your child.
Do not let anyone smoke in the house, car, or anywhere near your child.
It is very important for your child to drink enough.
Eating or drinking may make your child tired. Feed small amounts, but more often than usual.
If your child throws up because of coughing, wait a few minutes and try to feed your child again.
Some asthma medicines help children with bronchiolitis. Your health care provider may prescribe medicine for your child.
Do NOT give your child decongestant nose drops, antihistamines, or any other cold medicines unless your child’s doctor tells you to.
Call the doctor if:
Or, if your child:
American Academy of Pediatrics Subcommittee on Diagnosis and Management of Bronchiolitis. Diagnosis and management of bronchiolitis. Pediatrics. 2006 Oct;118(4):1774-93.
Zorc JJ, Hall CB. Bronchiolitis: recent evidence on diagnosis and management. Pediatrics. 2010 Feb;125(2):342-9.
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