Most of the lungs consists of millions of tiny tubes – bronchioles – that transmit air between the big airways, trachea and bronchi, and tiny hollow cavity – alveoli – in which oxygen is exchanged with carbon dioxide.
In bronchiolitis, the mucous membrane of bronchiolitis is inflicted by virus. The virus first causes the cold, and then spreads to the lungs. The infected mucosa swells and almost completely disables the entering and exiting of the air from the alveoli, and the child does not get enough oxygen. Bronchiolitis occurs almost exclusively in infancy.
The baby gets a cold, whichbecomes worse after a day or two, and begins to breathe quickly and heavily. In some cases, the thorax does not spread during inhalation. The child faints, cannot eat and the skin turns blue (cyanosis).
Bronchiolitis is not common and is quickly diagnosed in most cases. In rare cases, heart decompensation or pneumonia may occur (see pneumonia in children).
What to do?
If you notice any of these symptoms in your child, contact your doctor immediately. You need to be especially careful if the cold becomes worse after a day or two. If the cyanosis develops, the child has to be treated at a hospital where he will be immediately put under the oxygen tent. Antibiotics are given in some cases. In very severe cases corticosteroids are given to supress the inflammation, to reduce the swelling in bronchioles and for easier breathing. With fast treatment, most infants are completely recovering from this disease.