What is bronchiolitis?

Bronchiolitis is a viral condition characterized by swelling of the small airways in the lungs. It is a pathology that can develop in both children and adults, without too much severity.

However, in adult smokers it can cause severe breathing difficulties, which must be treated with care.

Prognosis of the disease

In most cases, it is a disease that develops without seriousness. On the third day, the respiratory difficulty begins to improve, and after a week, the symptoms disappear. However, in some cases, pneumonia or more severe respiratory problems may develop.

What are the symptoms of bronchiolitis?

The most common symptoms of bronchiolitis are the following:

  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Purple skin
  • Rapid breathing

Medical tests for bronchiolitis

To carry out the diagnosis of bronchiolitis, the specialist must perform a physical examination. In addition to the examination, the physician makes the diagnosis based on the symptoms presented by the patient. He may also require a series of additional tests, such as the following:

  • Chest X-ray
  • Blood gas analysis
  • Culture of a sample of nasal discharge

What are the causes of bronchiolitis?

The most common cause is respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), to which more than half of infants are exposed during their first year of life. This virus is spread by direct contact with secretions from the nose and throat of someone who has the disease. Thus, it can be spread if the one with the virus coughs or sneezes nearby, if they touch the same objects, among other situations.

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Other risk factors are:

  • Being less than six months old
  • Being exposed to cigarette smoke
  • Living in crowded conditions
  • Being born before 37 weeks of gestation
  • Not being breastfed

Can bronchiolitis be prevented?

Bronchiolitis cannot be prevented in most cases, since the viruses that cause it are very common in the environment. However, some measures to take are to wash your hands carefully or give your baby a drug to strengthen his immune system.

What is the treatment of bronchiolitis?

It should be noted that antibiotics are not effective in this type of pathology. Therefore, treatment is aimed at relieving the symptoms and consists of the following measures:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids
  • Breathing moist air
  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Do not let anyone smoke nearby

If you have trouble breathing, you may go to the hospital for oxygen therapy and fluids through a vein (IV).

Which specialist treats it?

The physician who treats bronchiolitis is the Pneumology specialist.