Acute Bronchitis

Acute Bronchitis in Children

Bronchitis results from an inflammation of the large breathing tubes (also called airways or bronchi). Among other physical changes, this results in an increase of mucus production. The two types of bronchitis are acute or chronic bronchitis (usually affects adults).

Acute bronchitis results from an inflammation of mucous membranes on the bronchial tubes. Lasting 5 to 14 days, it’s usually not a serious illness. And in healthy children, it usually goes away on its own.

An infection or virus often initiates acute bronchitis. Bronchitis in children can also result from other medical problems such as asthma, sinus, or tonsil issues.

Acute Bronchitis Symptoms and Diagnosis

The most common signs of acute bronchitis include:

  • Frequent Coughing– It can start as a dry cough and then turn into a productive cough (a cough that brings up mucus from the lungs) This can last for several weeks even after the other symptoms have disappeared
  • Chest Pains– Your child may experience chest pain while coughing or when he takes a deep breath
  • Wheezing– He may make a whistling or high pitched sound when breathing in and out
  • Shortness of Breath– Your child may experience shortness of breath making him tired and/or unwilling to play physical sports or games

Other symptoms related to the infection that caused the bronchitis may appear. They could include a fever, chills, sore throat or runny or stuffy nose.

After carefully studying your child’s symptoms, your pediatrician may suggest blood tests or a chest x-ray to rule out something more serious like pneumonia.

Acute Bronchitis Treatment

The following are recommendations to help ease problematic symptoms of this disorder:

  • Consider a humidifier– If your house is dry, you may want to get a humidifier or vaporizer to ease your child’s breathing
  • Drink– Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids. This will keep his air passages moist
  • Refrain from antibiotics– Antibiotics for acute bronchitis will not work since acute bronchitis is caused by a virus. However, they may be taken for other symptoms
  • Wash hands– Good and frequent hand washing is the best way to prevent this and other illnesses from spreading to others

Medicines may also be needed for coughs, body aches or fever reduction. Medicine provided through an inhaler or nebulizer (breathing treatment machine) comes out in a mist form so your child can breathe it into his lungs easier and cough less.

As mentioned earlier, though, acute bronchitis usually goes away within two weeks.