What is Bronchiolitis?
Bronchiolitis is an inflammation of the bronchioles, the smallest airways in the lungs. It typically occurs in children under two years of age, with the majority affected between three and six months old, as their small airways are more prone to inflammation. Common symptoms include coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath, which can make feeding difficult for infants. The condition is more prevalent in boys than girls and is often associated with factors such as lack of breastfeeding, living in crowded environments, or exposure to cigarette smoke and air pollution. The respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) mainly causes bronchiolitis, but other viruses like rhinovirus, influenza, and pneumovirus can also be responsible for its development.
Signs and Symptoms
Bronchiolitis is usually a mild illness. However, some infants can be at risk for a more severe reaction requiring hospitalization especially premature infants, those with a weakened immune system or prior chronic heart or lung disease. If this sounds like your child, it’s a good idea to play it safe, take preventative measures and know the signs! The signs and symptoms begin similar to a common cold, with nasal congestion, stuffiness, mild cough, runny nose, and fever, but will develop in about a day or two into a worsening cough and even wheezing. Watch for the following symptoms and proceed with urgent medical care if your child has:
- Elaborated breathing, rapid and shallow with an increased heartbeat rate.
- Sucking-in of the skin around the ribs and lower neck.
- Nasal-flaring and grunting.
- Bluish nails and lips.
- Fatigue or lethargy and poor appetite.
- Difficulty feeding due to respiratory obstruction.
How Can Salt Aerosol Help?
Kids who easily develop bronchiolitis are found to be more likely to develop asthma later in life, although there is not a clear link between the two. If the airways become sensitive and the inflammation persists for a long time, these may be signs to watch out for. Seashore aerosol will do wonders here; the salt aerosol is able to restore and further desensitize the respiratory system.
Home salt therapy is very helpful in bronchiolitis because the salt particles are minuscule and travel to bronchioles and alveoli, offering long enough exposure to eliminate chronic inflammation. It’s easily administered to infants by breathing the salt aerosol from the indoor air. The salt aerosol will reduce inflammation in the bronchioles, clear mucus, and open the airways. Place an extra pillow under the head, to create a slight angle. In babies, the best way to do this is to place a pillow under the mattress to create a smooth slope. This will help with nasal congestion and also prevent ear infection.