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Bronchiectasis In Children
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Bronchiectasis is a lung condition that causes your child's bronchi to permanently widen. Bronchi are larger airways which help carry air in and out of your child's lungs. Your child's lungs make mucus to trap and remove germs and irritants that he breathes. In bronchiectasis, his lungs cannot clear mucus as it would normally. This may lead to infections, inflammation, and scarring in your child's lungs and may make it difficult for him to breathe.
- Antibiotics: This medicine helps fight an infection caused by bacteria. Give this medicine to your child as directed.
- Bronchodilators: Bronchodilators may be given to help open the air passages in your child's lungs to help him breathe easier.
- Expectorants: These medicines help thin your child's mucus. When mucus is thin, it may be easier for him to cough it up and spit it out. This may help your child breathe easier and may help him get better faster.
- Steroid medicine: Inhaled steroids help decrease inflammation in your child's lungs and open his airways so he can breathe easier.
- Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him or her if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your child's healthcare provider or pulmonologist as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Your child may be given oxygen through a mask or nasal cannula to help him breathe easier. Oxygen can also decrease the strain on your child's heart and can help prevent further problems.
Help manage your child's symptoms:
- Airway clearance techniques (ACTs): A respiratory therapist may show you these techniques to help your child clear mucus and breathe easier. These exercises may be used along with machines or special devices to help decrease your child's symptoms. Ask for more information about these airway clearance techniques.
- Make sure your child gets plenty of exercise: Talk to your child's healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for him. Exercise can help to loosen mucus in your child's airways and help him breathe easier.
- Have your child drink plenty of liquids: Ask how much liquid your child should drink each day and which liquids are best for him. Liquids help thin mucus, which may make it easier for him to cough it up.
- Give your child a variety of healthy foods: Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Ask if he needs to be on a special diet.
Help prevent your child's bronchiectasis from getting worse:
- Do not let anyone smoke around your child: Smoke can irritate your child's lungs and make his condition worse. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask for information if you need help quitting.
- Keep your child away from people who are sick: This decreases your child's chance of getting sick or getting an infection.
- Ask about vaccinations: Ask your child's healthcare provider if your child should get a vaccine against the flu or pneumonia. The best time to get a flu shot is in October or November. Flu shots are good for one year. Pneumonia shots are good for 5 to 6 years. Ask which vaccinations are right for your child.
Contact your child's healthcare provider or pulmonologist if:
- Your child has a fever.
- Your child coughs more than usual or wheezes.
- Your child's medicines do not relieve his symptoms.
- You have questions about your child's condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Your child coughs up blood.
- Your child has sudden or more severe trouble breathing.
- Your child is confused or feels faint.
- Your child has severe chest pain.
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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.