Symptoms of Bronchitis in Babies

By Michelle LaRowe

  • Overview

    When a baby gets sick it can be very scary. A baby's immune system is still developing and the simple cold can easily turn into something more serious, like into a case of acute bronchitis. Acute bronchitis can range from very mild to very severe and it is important to remember that bronchitis in an infant can be worse than bronchitis in an older child or adult. As a general rule of thumb, anytime your baby has a fever or looks like he is having trouble breathing you should contact your baby's healthcare provider. If you are wondering if your baby has infant bronchitis, here is what you need to know.
  • Considerations

    Since your baby can't tell you that he is not feeling well, it is important to take inventory of his general health each day. Since acute bronchitis can develop from a viral infection, cold or exposure to irritants like second hand some, it is important to keep a watchful eye on your baby if it seems like he is coming down with something. Coughing, labored breathing, fever, wheezing or loud breathing may indicate your baby is coming down with bronchitis. If your baby seems fatigued or restless and is uninterested in eating or otherwise unlike his general self, contact his healthcare provider.
  • Diagnosis

    If your baby is experiencing symptoms of bronchitis, his doctor will likely want him to come in for a visit. You can expect your doctor to listen to your baby's lungs and possibly do a chest X-ray. Other tests, like a lung function or Sputum test can't be done on a baby, so your child's doctor is likely to do a thorough physical examination and check his ears and sinuses for signs of infection. A physical exam can be helpful since most cases of bronchitis start off by a virus infection that has affected the ears, nose, throat or sinuses.


  • Treatment

    While most cases of acute bronchitis care caused by viral infections, some are caused by bacterial infections and require antibiotics to cure. Bronchitis that is caused by a virus can be treated by placing a humidifier in the baby's sleeping area, offering lots of breast milk or formula and comforting your baby by holding him. Keeping him calm may limit coughing attacks. You can also ask your baby's doctor about giving Motrin, Advil or Tylenol to help make him comfortable.
  • Prevention/Solution

    Like any other viral or bacterial infection, bronchitis is contagious. Keeping your baby away from sick individuals can help to prevent the spread of infection. Washing your hands before handling your baby, being sure that your baby is well fed and hydrated and keeping your baby away from smoke and smog and also help prevent bronchitis. Since the flu can cause bronchitis, getting your baby vaccinated for the flu can also help to prevent bronchitis.
  • Potential

    Bronchitis most always goes away on its own within seven to 10 days if no other lung issues are present. See the Resources section below for a link. The dry cough that often accompanies bronchitis, however, can stick around for a few months. Early treatment can maximize the chance for a quick and full recovery.
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