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Offered by Brighton Pediatrics

Cold and flu season is here! And with it comes a lot of respiratory illnesses. One common illness in young children is bronchiolitis. The best known virus that causes this is RSV, but several other viruses may cause it too.

The symptoms of bronchiolitis are similar to a common cold, but the virus can also infect the small airways in the lungs, resulting in a lot of mucous and inflammation in the chest. This results in wheezing, which is a whistling sound when a child breathes. Along with the wheezing, there may be tugging or pulling of the muscles between the ribs and below the ribcage, also known as retractions. This is in addition to standard cold symptoms such as fever, runny nose, congestion, and cough.

Because this illness is caused by a virus and not bacteria, treatment with antibiotics is ineffective. Many other treatments for bronchiolitis (such as albuterol or steroids) have also been shown to be ineffective. The mainstay of treatment for bronchiolitis is supportive care, which includes rest, drinking plenty of fluids, and Tylenol or ibuprofen for any fevers or discomfort. Parents may also use a humidifier, place saline drops or sprays into the nose, and use a bulb suction to clear the nose when congested.

If your child has wheezing or retractions, won’t drink any fluids, or has fever over 100 F for 3 days or more, you should have them seen by a doctor as soon as possible for further evaluation. Seek immediate treatment for any severe signs of breathing difficulty such as deep retractions, lethargy, or blue color to the lips or face. For further information, please visit our website at

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Brighton Pediatrics