How to prevent the risk of shortness of breath of your child?

 Bronchiolitis became the main cause of shortness of breath in the child. There have been many sudden manifestations of bronchiolitis in children.  Earlier, all respiratory problems in children were considered pneumonia.

In most cases, children are diagnosed with pneumonia if they have a fever or shortness of breath and are treated with antibiotics, which is unnecessary.


We have two lungs on either side of our chest, whose job is to get the body out of polluting carbon dioxide and deliver the necessary oxygen from the environment. 

The lungs look like an upside-down tree. Just as a tree divides into branches and ends in leaves, so the leaves of the lungs are known as alveoli in our body. 

Bacterial inflammation of the alveoli is considered pneumonia, and inflammation of the leaf stem or bronchioles is caused by a virus, called bronchiolitis. 

So there is a difference between the two. The respiratory syncytial virus is a major cause of bronchiolitis.

The respiratory syncytial virus enters the body of children through inhalation and causes inflammation in the bronchi of the airways. The trachea narrows for three reasons.

1. Inflammatory water accumulation in the walls of the trachea,
2. Produces a lot of mucus in the trachea
3. Inflammation causes dead cells in the airways to leak. The baby's lungs get stuck in the air and have trouble breathing.

Who are vulnerable

Children less than one-year-old, especially two to six months old, are mainly affected.

 Babies who are unable to breastfeed, babies born with low birth weight, babies from smoking families, babies with congenital heart disease develop chronic bronchiolitis.

Symptoms and signs

Symptoms of bronchitis include mild fever, runny nose, restlessness, inability to eat, incessant crying, sore throat, stopping the baby's smile, shortness of breath, shortness of breath, etc.

Physical examination shows a rapid breathing rate of 60 to 80 per minute or more. The lower part of the ribs of the chest can go inwards. 

Symptoms include the bluish colour of the lips or limbs and a flute-like sound when the baby breathes in close to the nose. In most cases, the sound of whistling in the chest and often the sound of hair rubbing can be heard.

These babies recover within three to four days and continue to cough and laugh despite the shortness of breath.


There is no need for a blood test or chest X-ray to diagnose bronchiolitis. However, X-rays of the chest showed signs of air retention in the lungs. 

The lungs appear quite large and more black. However, there are no signs of pneumonia in the lungs, such as whitening of any part.

 There may be white spots like cotton, which can be caused by viral pneumonia. Leukocyte levels remain normal in most cases on blood tests and ESR, CRP does not rise too much.


If the baby is normal, if he/she can eat if the fever is not high and if the oxygen level in the body is not reduced, he/she should be treated at home.

 The head should be kept high, breast milk or other normal food should be given and he/she should be kept under observation. 

If your baby has trouble eating, shortness of breath, fever, he/she need to be taken to the hospital.

Hospital treatment

The level of oxygen in the blood can be determined with the help of a pulse oximeter. 

If the level of oxygen in the blood is below 90 to 92 per cent, the child should be given oxygen. The level of oxygen in the blood should be kept above 95 per cent.

If you can't eat, you have to feed it through a tube or give saline intravenously.

Treatment with nebulization is a common practice for a long time. Nebulizing with salbutamol is beneficial to some children, not beneficial to some children and harmful to some children. 

However, nebulizing with high levels of saline dilutes the mucus in the chest and helps reduce the baby's shortness of breath.

If the child's condition worsens despite these treatments, he or she will need to be admitted to the pediatric ICU.

No antibiotics are needed

Bronchiolitis is a viral disease. So there is no need to use antibiotics. 

However, if the child is more ill, has a higher fever, and has a higher risk at an early age (within 2 months), the doctor may decide to give antibiotics.

If the baby can eat, shortness of breath is reduced, oxygen is not needed, there is no fever, the baby may be discharged from the hospital. Many children can go home in three to five days.

Babies who are at high risks, such as those who have not breastfed, were born prematurely, have anaemia, or have congenital heart problems, may take longer to recover.

Message for parents

Bronchiolitis is a viral disease of the lungs in young children, not pneumonia. Affected children recover quickly within three to five days, if not at risk. But the cough can last up to 21 days.

If shortness of breath is reduced and oxygen is not needed, there is no need to stay in the hospital if you can eat.

Later, the child may develop bronchiolitis again, and even some children may have asthma. Frequent shortness of breath does not mean pneumonia.

The difference between pneumonia and bronchiolitis

Although there are some similarities in the symptoms, the treatment and speed of the two diseases of bronchiolitis and pneumonia are completely different.

Pneumonia can occur at any age, but bronchiolitis no longer occurs after the age of two.

Pneumonia can increase the child's fever, make the child feel sicker, cause frequent shortness of breath, chest tightness, and medical examination. 

Blood tests increase leukocyte levels, and ESR and CRPO are much higher. Chest X-rays show specific white spots in different places or a part of the lungs that become completely white.

Pneumonia should be treated with antibiotics. Oxygen may be needed and intravenous saline may be needed.

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