The bronchial tubes serve as the path of air into the lungs. Once the lining on these tubes are inflamed, a condition called bronchitis develops. It is important to note that this condition can be acute which only lasts for a few days or chronic. When it comes to a chronic case of bronchitis, it is a serious condition in which the irritation of the bronchial tubes is a constant or recurring issue. Take note that infants are more likely to end up with bronchitis than adults.
Close look on bronchitis in infants
The airways in infants are smaller in size, thus easily blocked than the adults when mucus accumulates during inflammation. This issue is most often seen during the initial 2 years of life with peak occurrence between the ages of 3-6 months old. Always bear in mind that bronchitis is a result of a viral infection and can be preceded by conditions such as common cold or the flu. Always bear in mind that this infection can spread starting from the nose and throat, then all the way up to the airways or bronchial tubes.
What are the signs and symptoms?
The indications of bronchitis to watch out for include the following:
- Mucus-producing cough
- Low-grade fever
Other respiratory issues linked with swollen airways among infants include flaring nostrils, rapid heart rate, chest retraction and fast, shallow breathing. Wheezing and shortness of breath are often seen in both acute and chronic bronchitis.
In most cases, cases of acute bronchitis due to a viral infection do not require any form of treatment. The condition typically clears up within a week, but the dry cough tends to linger much longer.
It is vital to increase the fluid intake of the infant, encourage adequate rest and consult a doctor on what to use to reduce the fever if there is one. If the child is wheezing, the doctor might prescribe a bronchodilator or inhaler. The inhaler works by delivering the medication in a fine mist that is inhaled into the lungs to promote easy breathing.
Some cough medications help remove mucus from the lungs as well as help with the breathing. On the other hand, it is not recommended to use cough suppressants if possible. In addition, these medications should not be used since they work by suppressing the cough since it is a bodily mechanism that gets rid of excess mucus from the body. When it comes to medications, it is best to consult a doctor before giving any.
What are possible risk factors?
The factors that increase the risk for developing bronchitis include air pollutants, exposure to cigarette smoke, illness such as allergies or asthma and premature birth. The infant should be encouraged to drink more fluids and use a humidifier to help ease the symptoms due to inflamed airways.