Bronchiolitis: cases increase this winter

The bronchiolitis epidemic is collapsing consultations of pediatric services. This infant respiratory disease has taken hundreds of families to pediatric emergencies, where they have received up to an average of 50 patients, children under two years, a day.

In some places, up to 200 children per day have been registered, with an average of 20 hospitalizations per day. Even so, pediatricians point out that "although there is more bronchiolitis than other years, There is no reason for the alarm. "According to Dr. Paloma Nacher, responsible for the pediatric emergency service of the Hospital La Milagrosa," this year the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), the virus responsible for bronchiolitis that causes the inflammation of the bronchioles, is being more virulent than other years affecting to a large extent babies under 6 months, especially ".

On the other hand, exposure to levels of environmental pollution, as in Madrid, is another factor that greatly influences the spread of this virus.

What is bronchiolitis and how does it appear in babies?

The bronchiolitis It is a disease of the respiratory system that affects the tiny airways called "bronchioles", which flow into the lungs. The inflammation of these routes causes them to swell and fill with mucus, which makes breathing difficult. It is a common disease and sometimes serious.

Caused primarily by the respiratory syncytial virus, bronchiolitis is very common in infants and children because their airways are small and clogged more easily. It usually occurs more frequently between three and six months of age and disappears as the child grows and his lungs mature. Bornquiolitis is a serious illness that sometimes requires hospitalization, especially in babies under 12 months.

How to prevent bronchiolitis in babies?

The bronchiolitis virus spreads if it comes into direct contact with the secretions of the nose and throat of someone who has the disease (coughing, sneezing ...). Therefore, Dr. Nacher indicates a series of recommendations to avoid transmission, in addition to those indicated in each case by the doctor.

- Wash your hands frequently it is a measure that is usually effective especially during the colds season.

- Keep the baby or child away from tobacco smoke.

- Ensure sufficient rest and a healthy diet to help the body to defend against diseases.

Symptoms of bronchiolitis

Bronchiolitis begins as a mild infection of the upper respiratory tract. After two or three days, the child has more respiratory problems, such as wheezing and coughing.

The symptoms of bronchiolitis can appear as follows:

- Purple skin due to lack of oxygen . In this case, urgent treatment is needed
- Respiratory difficulty, which includes wheezing and shortness of breath
- Cough
- Fatigue
- Fever
- Run: the muscles around the ribs sink when the child breathes
- The nostrils of the baby widen when breathing
- Rapid and agitated breathing

Treatment of bronchiolitis

Bronchiolitis usually lasts about 12 days, but children who suffer more severe cases may continue to cough for weeks. In general, the disease reaches the point of greatest intensity between the second and third days after the onset of coughing and breathing difficulties and then subsides gradually.

Antibiotics, in this case, are not useful because bronchiolitis is a respiratory disease caused by a viral infection and antibiotics are only effective in bacterial infections. Sometimes the professional may consider medication necessary to help unclog the child's expiratory tract.

In the most severe cases, the hospitalization of the child is required in order to provide oxygen and help him breathe until his complete improvement.

Development of the first bronchiolitis vaccine

A group of Chilean scientists have just developed the first vaccine against the Sincicial Respiratory Virus (RSV) and they hope it will be available to the public within four years.

Dr. Paloma Nacher. Neonatologist and head of the Pediatric Emergency Service of La Milagrosa Hospital in Madrid

Video: Bronchiolitis - Causes and Risk factors

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