Bronchiolitis (1930)

Key points below

What is it?

Bronchiolitis is an infection in the lungs.  It is common in infants and young children. It is caused by a virus like a cold virus. Bronchiolitis happens when a cold virus moves to the chest. The virus causes swelling in the small airways in your child’s lungs. The lungs make a lot of mucus. Your child may cough and work harder to breathe.

How can I help my child feel better?

Offer plenty of fluids.

For a child over 1 year old:
Punch, apple juice
Popsicles® For an infant under 1 year old:
Use Pedialyte® or another infant electrolyte solution.
Infants should still breast feed or drink formula.
Do not give plain water.
Use a cool mist humidifier in your baby's room.  It can help your baby breathe more easily. Be sure to clean it often.  Use the directions from the company that made it.
Use salt-water or saline nose drops to loosen mucus in your baby's nose.
Suction baby's nose using a bulb syringe or a Nose Frida. This helps before sleep, eating and as needed.
Keep away from cigarette smoke.
Good hand washing will prevent others from getting sick.

When should we come to the Emergency Room?

If your baby:
Is less than 8 weeks old and has a new temperature in the bottom (rectum) over 100.4°F (38.0°C)
Is working harder to breathe and faster than before.
Has signs of being very sick.  This includes sleeping all the time or not drinking fluids.
Has signs of dehydration. This includes not crying tears, dry mouth, no pee (urine) for 8 to 10 hours or poor activity.

Other helpful information:

If your child has bronchiolitis, it may be helpful to know that:
Babies are often sick for 7 to10 days.
Their cough may continue for 2 to 4 weeks.
It is not uncommon for your child to have a cough for 2 to 3 weeks. 

For other health and wellness information, check out this resource:


Call your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic if you have any questions or concerns or if your baby has:
A fever of 101°F or higher that last more the 2 days.
Yellow discharge from the eyes starts and lasts more than a day.
Special health care needs that were not covered by this information.