November 25, 2006

Childhood illness - Bronchitis


Bronchitis is basically a less severe case of pneumonia and it is from this infection that pneumonia usually develops from if left unchecked. It is an infection brought about by inflammation of the bronchial tubes, i.e. a respiratory infection. Bronchitis can be acute or chronic. Acute bronchitis is usually severe and usually only lasts a couple of days, whereas chronic bronchitis can last months or even years

Bronchitis has many causes. A virus, bacteria, heartburn, even smoking, can all lead to a bronchitis infection. It is a very common infection, much like the advanced version of the common cold.


Symptoms may include, a dry cough that will entail mucus being brought up out of the lungs, headache, chills, fever, soreness or tightness in the chest, wheezing and problems breathing. Children with this infection are more susceptible to other infections. Children with asthma, or who are victims of secondhand smoke, are more susceptible to a bronchitis infection.

Diagnosis and treatment
Your childs physician will probably listen to your child's chest and breathing and then if he feels it is necessary will order an x-ray to take a further look at your child's chest. If the infection is caused by a virus, antibiotics will not work and therefore the infection will have to run its course. If this is the case, then you will just have to make your child as comfortable as possible during the course of the infection, and wait for your child's immune system to do its job. The best home treatment is to treat the child as if he or she has the common cold. Rest, lots of fluids, and over the counter medicines are all you can do to treat this type of bronchitis. Using a humidifier may help as well. If your child's bronchitis is caused by bacterium, your doctor may or may not prescribe antibiotics.

Is it contagious?
Bronchitis is extremely contagious; it can be contracted by coughing, sneezing, or through touching places that the infected person has touched.

Adapted from SureBaby