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What's the treatment for bronchiolitis?

Most cases of bronchiolitis can be treated at home with self-care steps. Because a virus is usually the cause of bronchiolitis,

antibiotics - which are used to treat infections caused by bacteria - aren't effective against it. If your child has an associated bacterial infection, such as pneumonia, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics for that. Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections. Sometimes, no treatment is necessary. Supportive therapy may include oxygen, humidified air, chest clapping(postural drainage to remove secretions), rest, and clear fluids. Other medicines used in the hospital may include albuterol (a medication normally used in asthma) or steroids. In extremely ill children, antiviral medications (such as ribavirin) are sometimes used. Antiviral treatment may decrease the severity and duration of the illness. To be effective, it must be administered early in the course of the illness. In the hospital, oxygen levels are monitored with a sensor on a finger, toe, or an earlobe, and oxygen is given by an oxygen tent or face mask. A ventilator may be needed to assist breathing. Intravenous fluids are given if the child cannot drink adequately. Inhaled drugs that open the airways (bronchodilators) may be tried, although their effectiveness in bronchiolitis is questionable.

More information on bronchiolitis

What is bronchiolitis? - Bronchiolitis is an infection of the lower respiratory tract that usually affects infants. Bronchiolitis begins as a mild upper respiratory infection.
What causes bronchiolitis? - The most common cause of bronchiolitis is a virus. The virus is transmitted from person-to-person by direct contact with nasal secretions or by airborne droplets.
What're the symptoms of bronchiolitis? - The symptoms of bronchiolitis include wheezing, caused by the narrowing of the bronchioles. In most infants, the symptoms are mild.
How is bronchiolitis diagnosed? - Bronchiolitis is diagnosed solely on the history and physical examination of the child. Many tests may be ordered to rule out other diseases.
What's the treatment for bronchiolitis? - Most cases of bronchiolitis can be treated at home with self-care steps. Supportive therapy may include oxygen, humidified air, chest clapping.
How to prevent bronchiolitis? - Most cases of bronchiolitis are not readily preventable because the viruses that cause the disorder are common in the environment.
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005