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Bronchiolitis

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Bronchiolitis is a viral infection of the bronchioles (small airways) in your child's lungs. These small airways become inflamed and filled with fluid and mucus. The muscles around the airways tighten, making them smaller. This makes it hard for your child to breathe.


CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.

RISKS:

  • Your child may get dehydrated. Your child may have difficulty eating because of congestion and breathing problems. Breathing problems could cause a decrease in oxygen inside his body. When your child's body does not get enough oxygen, his kidneys, heart, and brain can be damaged.

  • Without treatment, his symptoms may get worse. He may have more breathing problems. This may decrease his oxygen levels and damage organs such as his kidneys, heart, and brain. He may get very tired from working hard to breathe and completely stop breathing. This can be life-threatening.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.

Emotional support:

Stay with your child for comfort and support as often as possible while he is in the hospital. Ask another family member or someone close to the family to stay with your child when you cannot be there. Bring items from home that will comfort your child, such as a favorite blanket or toy.

Isolation:

Your child may be in isolation if he has an infection or disease that he can spread to others. Caregivers and visitors may need to wear gloves, a face mask, and a gown. Everyone should wash their hands before and after visiting your child.

An IV

is a small tube placed in your child's vein that is used to give him medicine or liquids.

A pulse oximeter

measures how much oxygen is in your child's blood. A small clip or sticky strip will be placed on your child's finger, ear, or toe. A cord connects the oximeter to a machine.

Nutrition:

Your child may need to stop eating by mouth for a period of time. This is needed when he has a hard time breathing. A tube may be put in your child's mouth or nose and into his stomach. This may be used to feed him while he is sick.

Medicines:

  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to give your child and how often to give it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.

  • NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's doctor.

  • Antibiotics help treat a bacterial infection.

  • Bronchodilators help open the airways in your child's lungs.

  • Extra oxygen may be needed if your child's blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. Your child may get oxygen through a mask placed over his nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in his nostrils. Ask your child's healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.

  • Breathing treatments and support:

    • Removing mucus: A small tube is placed in your child's mouth or nose. This tube sucks out the mucus in your child's mouth and nose to help him breathe easier. Saline drops may be put into your child's nose to loosen up some of the mucus. Your child may need this treatment more than once.

    • Nebulizer treatments: Bronchodilator medicine is mixed with air or oxygen in a machine called a nebulizer. This makes a mist that is easier for your child to breathe into his lungs. Breathing treatments are usually given through a mouthpiece or mask attached to the nebulizer.

Tests:

  • Blood tests may show an infection or dehydration.

  • A chest x-ray is a picture of your child's lungs and heart to see how well they are working.

  • A culture may show if the infection has improved. A cotton swab is used to take a tissue sample from your child's nose or throat.

  • A nasal wash may show if the infection has improved. A sample of mucus from your child's nose may be taken with a suction tube.

Treatment:

Your child may need an endotracheal (ET) tube to help him breathe. An ET tube is put in your child's mouth or nose, and goes into the trachea (windpipe). It may be connected to a breathing machine called a ventilator. The ET tube will be taken out when your child is breathing better.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Bronchiolitis (Inpatient Care)

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