Bronchitis in infants and children

Bronchitis in infants and children

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The bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchi, which are the main airways to the lungs, and causes coughing and expectoration. Bronchitis can be short-lived (acute) or chronic, that is, it lasts a long time and is recurrent.

Acute bronchitis usually follows a respiratory infection, initially affecting the nose, sinuses, and throat, then spreading to the lungs.

Sometimes children or adults can get another bacterial (secondary) infection in the airways. This means that, in addition to viruses, there are bacteria that are infecting the respiratory tract. For this reason, bronchitis is usually due, in most cases, to a cold or the flu.

1. Risks of acute bronchitis in children
- Babies and young children are at higher risk of bronchitis, if their parents smoke.
- If they have underlying heart or lung disease.

2. Risks of chronic bronchitis in children
- Exposure to tobacco smoke is the greatest risk for children. Cigarette smoke, including long-term passive exposure to cigarette smoke, is the leading cause of chronic bronchitis. The severity of the disease often depends on how much you have smoked or how long you have been exposed to the smoke.

Chronic bronchitis is also known as Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or as COPD for short. Emphysema is another variant of COPD. As this condition worsens, the person becomes increasingly short of breath, has difficulty walking or exerting physical effort, and may need supplemental oxygen on a regular basis.

Chronic bronchitis is a long-lasting condition. The diagnosis of chronic bronchitis requires that the person have had a cough with mucus on most days of the month for at least 3 months. Air pollution, certain occupations (such as coal mining, textile manufacturing, and grain handling), infections, and allergies can aggravate bronchitis.

It usually does not require antibiotic treatment. To thin the phlegm, the child should drink a lot of liquids. If the cough is dry, give a cough suppressant. On the contrary, if while coughing you pass secretions, you should not be given medicine to stop the cough. They help retain phlegm in the lungs, a situation that favors infection.

Antibiotics are NOT needed for acute bronchitis caused by a virus. The infection usually clears up spontaneously within a week. The following steps can be taken to achieve some relief such as paracetamol for fever, rest and rest, drink plenty of fluids, use a humidifier or steam in the bathroom and DO NOT smoke around the child.

If symptoms do not improve, the doctor may prescribe an inhaler to open the airway and prescribe antibiotics if he thinks the person has a secondary bacterial infection.

Patricia García Herrero. Copywriter

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