Infant bronchiolitis is, like any other infant sickness, a pain. We recently experienced it with our youngest daughter when she was only 11 weeks old. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Bronchiolitis is a common lung infection in young children and infants. It causes inflammation and congestion in the small airways (bronchioles) of the lung. Bronchiolitis is almost always caused by a virus. Typically, the peak time for bronchiolitis is during the winter months.” It can last for a few days or up to a month.
Complications Due to Bronchiolitis
(as listed by kidshealth.org)
- fast, shallow breathing
- a rapid heartbeat
- retractions — when the areas below the ribs, between the ribs, and in the neck sink in as a child inhales
- flaring of the nostrils
- irritability, with difficulty sleeping and signs of fatigue (tiredness) or lethargy
- vomiting after coughing
- poor appetite or not feeding well, causing decreased peeing and fewer wet diapers
For our daughter, her condition began like a common cold. She was sneezing, had congestion and a tiny cough. She never had a fever or anything else out of the ordinary until the third day of this “cold” when her breathing was accompanied with wheezing. That sound was the scariest thing I have heard as a mother.
The evening she began wheezing I called two different nurse lines and then decided to take her to the emergency room. During our visit from midnight until 3:00am in the ER, she was given x-rays, treated for croup, and sent home. Through the night her condition only worsened, making her unable to sleep or eat.
It’s easy to get on social media and post pretty pictures related to parenting. The truth is, parenting isn’t always pretty. My 2 month old showed cold symptoms on Monday and on Wednesday I spent 3 hours in the middle of the night at the ER to figure out why she was wheezing. They determined she is experiencing the early stages of croup, which has caused her airways to swell. Tonight I had to resort to pumping and feeding her via this syringe because she’s having difficulty breathing while nursing. She cries 90% of the time she is awake and finds it hard to get comfortable. Her condition could be much worse so I am certainly counting my blessings. Just wanted to share a glimpse of a real #momlife moment.
The next morning I called our pediatrician and was able to get her seen within two hours of calling. The certified nurse practitioner immediately ordered a breathing treatment of albuterol and the monitoring of our daughter’s oxygen level. Seeing only minimal improvement, it was recommended that we immediately head to the emergency room of our local children’s hospital. Although though CNP wanted us to be transported by medic, I had already made it up in my mind that I would drive her there; I just could not see my two month old baby in an ambulance. The CNP made me promise her I would go directly to the hospital, and of course, I did as she suggested–I wanted to see my baby healed!
At the beginning of our ER visit at the children’s hospital, we were told our daughter would be kept overnight. As parents we did not want to hear this, which led us to praying and believing that she would be healed and sent home. After several hours in the ER, a second albuterol treatment and nasal suction, we were indeed cleared to go home. The doctor looked at our baby and said, “You are proving me wrong.” Her oxygen level and hydration level were back to normal and our prayers were answered.
Treating Infant Bronchiolitis
Treating babies when they are sick is one of the hardest things to go through as parents. It’s during these times when parents wish most their baby could talk. Most cases of infant bronchiolitis cases are treated at home, and in our case, without medication. The following treatments, plus prayer (for sure) helped to get our little one back to 100% within a week of the onset of her bronchiolitis:
Eating when you have a hard time breathing is a little rough, so naturally our little one did desire to eat on her regular every two hours schedule. I fed her as often as she would allow, sometimes multiple times within an hour.
We stood in a bathroom, turned on the shower to the hottest temperature, allowing the room to fill with steam. We did this for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, or as long as the baby could stand it–she sweated like crazy during these sessions but it helped to loosen the mucous in her chest. We repeated this multiple times a day.
Cool Mist Humidifier
We kept the humidifier going day and night, hoping to add moisture into the air. I can’t say that it is as effective as the steam sessions, but during the night it certainly helped minimize our daughter’s cough, allowing us all to get much needed sleep.
We saw the most improvement in our little one’s condition once she received albuterol in the ER and after we purchased the saline drops and nasal aspirator. Keeping her nasal passages clear was the best thing we could have done for her at home. This allowed her to breathe, eat and sleep better.
I highly recommend getting an aspirator like the NeilMed Naspira because the bulbs did not have enough suction to get out the thick mucous that came with this sickness. Seriously, this thing worked wonders for us and surprisingly never made our little one cry.
I am no doctor and treated my baby the way I thought was best for her. Please consult your child’s doctor if your child is showing signs of bronchiolitis and for the proper plan of action for treatment.
Has your child ever suffered from infant bronchiolitis or croup?