Bronchiolitis is a viral infection that produces wheezing and trouble breathing.  Children usually get this illness between 6 months and 2 years of age.  The virus narrows the small airways of the lungs (the bronchioles), which causes your child to wheeze.  This causes the most problems in young babies (less than 2 months), children with heart or lung problems, and babies who were premature or have other medical problems.  Common symptoms include:

·        Low grade fever

·        Wheezing (high pitched whistling sound when breathing)

·        Rapid breathing

·        Cough and congestion.


The most common virus causing bronchiolitis is respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Because it is a virus, antibiotics do not help.  The main goal of treatment is to try to make your child more comfortable and help him or her breathe easier.  Your doctor has decided that your child can be treated at home, but we know this infection can sometimes worsen.  If you think your child is getting worse, you need to return to the emergency department.




1.      If your child starts wheezing, keep him or her calm or playing quietly.  Excitement and physical activity can make wheezing worse.

2.      Use a cool mist vaporizer or humidifier at night. 

3.      Use a bulb syringe and salt water drops to suction mucous from the nose.

4.      Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids.

5.      Give acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) as needed for fever. 


Call your child’s doctor or return to the Emergency Department if:


1.      Your child has increasing shortness of breath or trouble breathing.

2.      Your child breathes faster than 60 times a minute.

3.      Your child’s nostrils flare open or the chest sucks in each time he or she breaths.

4.      Your child stops breathing (even if he or she does not turn blue).

5.      Your child is unable to drink.

6.      Your child looks sick or anxious.

7.      You have any other questions or concerns.