An infection of the bronchioles, the small air passages in the lungs.


  • Symptoms usually begin about two days after a cold that has become worse. 
  • Fever with a dry, rasping cough. 
  • Wheezing
  • Rapid and difficult breathing
  • Difficulty feeding.
  • Bluish lips and tongue.
  • Abnormal drowsiness.


  • See your doctor.
  • If your child struggles to breathe take her to a hospital immediately.


  • For a mild case, the doctor will most likely prescribe a bronchodilator.
  • Give your child plenty of fluids. 
  • Liquid paracetamol will help bring the fever down. 
  • Thick mucus in the lungs may be loosened by slapping your child’s back gently as she lies over your knees. 
  • If your child needs hospital treatment she will be given oxygen.

Caused by a virus, this infection of the smallest airways usually occurs in very small children. Your baby will develop a dry rasping cough, wheezing and rapid breathing after a few days of what seems like a normal cold. This is most common in winter.

What to do

A severe case may need hospitalisation, so it’s best to get a doctor’s advice if you suspect your baby has this. The baby will be given medicine via a nebuliser, and in severe cases may need oxygen. At home, keep the house warm but not too hot, and consider using a humidifier to keep the air moist to ease the baby’s cough. The cough may last for 2 to 3 weeks.

For more detailed info on Common Childhood Conditions, go to Health24.

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