What's Going Around: Bronchiolitis

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A virus that can really take a toll on little kids and babies is what’s going around this week. It’s a lung infection called bronchiolitis.

The lungs get inflamed and there is congestion in the small airways, called bronchioles.

Bronchiolitis most commonly caused by the Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV. Babies are hit hardest because mucus really clogs up the nose and makes it hard to breathe.

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Emergency Medicine expert Dr. Mike Patrick of Nationwide Children’s Hospital said it is critical to keep your baby’s nose clear of mucus.

“Probably the best way to do that is with one of those human-powered suction devices which is a little tube you stick inside the baby's nose,” Dr. Patrick said. “There's a filter in the middle of the tube and at the other end the parent puts the tube in their mouth, and you suck.”

Difficulty breathing is a telltale sign of bronchiolitis. Be sure to see a healthcare provider if your baby's really working to breathe or you see what are called ‘retractions’ where the skin between their ribs or the bottom looks like it's sucking in with each breath or their nostrils are flaring or they're grunting when they're breathing, breathing fast and not wanting to eat.

Bronchiolitis can last for two to three weeks.

In addition to nasal suctioning, Dr. Mike recommended a humidifier to add moisture to the air at home and non-medicated saline nose drops.