How is bronchiolitis treated?
Fortunately, most cases of bronchiolitis are mild and do not require specific treatment. The best treatment for most kids is time to rest and recover and drinking plenty of fluids. Fluids should be offered in small amounts and at more frequent intervals than usual.
To clear nasal congestion, try a bulb syringe and saline (saltwater) nose drops. This can be especially helpful just before feeding and sleeping. A cool mist-vaporizer or humidifier can help loosen mucus and relieve cough and congestion.
Acetaminophen can be given to reduce fever and make the child more comfortable. Be sure to follow appropriate dosing and timing of medication based on your child’s weight. Over-the-counter cough and cold remedies are not approved for infants and young children and are not recommended.
Antibiotics are not useful because bronchiolitis is caused by a viral infection, and antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections. Breathing treatments with medicines such as albuterol or epinephrine are helpful for certain children and may be prescribed by your doctor.
Infants who have trouble breathing, pauses in their breathing, a blue color to their skin, are dehydrated or are sleepier than usual should always be evaluated by a doctor. Those who are moderately or severely ill may need to be hospitalized, watched closely, and given fluids and humidified oxygen. In very severe cases, some babies are placed on respirators to help them breathe until they start to get better, but this is rare.
Why choose Children’s Hospital Colorado for your child’s bronchiolitis?
Children's Hospital Colorado Breathing Institute's mission is to provide comprehensive clinical care and consultation for children with common and complex breathing problems, including bronchiolitis.
As a regional care center, our Breathing Institute provides professional education and advancement of knowledge through research. Our doctors are responsible for discoveries in pulmonary medicine, including the first use of inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) to treat premature infants with respiratory failure.
We are nationally recognized for our expertise in asthma, cystic fibrosis, airway anomalies and disease, pulmonary hypertension, apnea and sleep-disordered breathing, primary ciliary dyskinesia and children's interstitial lung disease. Children's Colorado has the depth and breadth of experience to treat the broad spectrum of all breathing conditions in children.
The latest in diagnostic testing is available for both infants and older children, and an experienced staff of pediatric specialists including physicians, nurses, dietitians, social workers and respiratory therapists allows families to benefit from a team approach to treating breathing disorders. Our collaborative approach to lung care incorporates and facilitates family involvement.