Navigate Up

Heart Center - A-Z Index

#
J
Q
X
Z

Print This Page

Bronchiolitis - discharge

When Your Child Was in the Hospital

Your child has bronchiolitis, which causes swelling and mucus to buildup in the smallest air passages of the lungs. In the hospital, the doctors and nurses helped your child breathe better. They also made sure your child received enough liquids.

What to Expect at Home

Most children will still have symptoms of bronchiolitis after they leave the hospital:

  • Wheezing may last for up to 5 days.
  • Coughing and stuffy nose will slowly get better over 7 to 14 days.
  • Sleeping and eating may take up to 1 week to be normal.
  • You may need to take time off work to care for your child.

Home Care

Breathing moist (wet) air helps loosen the sticky mucus that may be choking your child. You can use a humidifier to make the air your child is breathing moist. Follow the directions that came with the humidifier.

Do not use steam vaporizers because they can cause burns. Use cool mist humidifiers instead.

If your child’s nose is blocked up, your child will not be able to drink or sleep easily. You can use warm tap water or saline nose drops to loosen the mucus. Both of these work better than any medicine you can buy. Follow these steps:

  • Place 3 drops of warm water or saline in each nostril.
  • Wait 1 minute, then use a soft rubber suction bulb to suck out the mucus from each nostril.
  • Repeat several times until your child's breathing through the nose becomes quiet and easy.

Everyone who touches your child must wash their hands with warm water and soap or an alcohol-based hand cleaner before doing so. Try to keep other children away from your child.

Do not let anyone smoke in the house, car, or anywhere near your child.

Eating and Drinking

It is very important for your child to drink enough.

  • Offer breast milk or formula if your child is younger than 12 months.
  • Offer regular milk if your child is older than 12 months.

Eating or drinking may make your child tired. Feed small amounts, but more often than usual.

If your child throws up because of coughing, wait a few minutes and try to feed your child again.

Medicines

Some asthma medicines help children with bronchiolitis. Your health care provider may prescribe medicine for your child.

Do NOT give your child decongestant nose drops, antihistamines, or any other cold medicines unless your child’s doctor tells you to.

When to Call the Doctor

Call the doctor if:

  • Breathing becomes labored or difficult.
  • The wheezing gets more severe.
  • Skin, nails, gums, or lips, or the area around the eyes are bluish or grayish in color, or looks dusky.
  • Your child’s chest is pulling in with each breath.
  • Your child’s body becomes limp.

Or, if your child:

  • Is breathing faster than 60 breaths a minute (when not crying).
  • Is very tired and is not moving around very much.
  • Is breathing faster than usual.
  • Has flaring nostrils.
  • Is making a grunting noise.
  • Has a loss of appetite.
  • Is irritable.
  • Has trouble sleeping.
  • Is short of breath.

References

American Academy of Pediatrics Subcommittee on Diagnosis and Management of Bronchiolitis. Diagnosis and management of bronchiolitis. Pediatrics. 2006 Oct;118(4):1774-93.

Zorc JJ, Hall CB. Bronchiolitis: recent evidence on diagnosis and management. Pediatrics. 2010 Feb;125(2):342-9.

Updated: 5/16/2012

Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.


©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com