Bronchiolitis - discharge
Your child has bronchiolitis, which causes swelling and mucus to build up in the smallest air passages of the lungs.
Now that your child is going home from the hospital, follow the health care provider's instructions on how to care for your child. Use the information below as a reminder.
RSV bronchiolitis - discharge; Respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis - discharge
When You're in the Hospital
In the hospital, the provider helped your child breathe better. They also made sure your child received enough fluids.
What to Expect at Home
Your child will likely still have symptoms of bronchiolitis after leaving the hospital.
Breathing moist (wet) air helps loosen the sticky mucus that may be choking your child. You can use a humidifier to make the air moist. Follow the directions that came with the humidifier.
Do not use steam vaporizers because they can cause burns. Use cool mist humidifiers instead.
If your child's nose is stuffy, your child will not be able to drink or sleep easily. You can use warm tap water or saline nose drops to loosen the mucus. Both of these work better than any medicine you can buy.
Before anyone touches your child, they must wash their hands with warm water and soap or use an alcohol-based hand cleanser before doing so. Try to keep other children away from your child.
Do not let anyone smoke in the house, car, or anywhere near your child.
Eating and Drinking
It is very important for your child to drink enough fluids.
Eating or drinking may make your child tired. Feed small amounts, but more often than usual.
If your child throws up because of coughing, wait a few minutes and try to feed your child again.
Some asthma medicines help children with bronchiolitis. Your provider may prescribe such medicines for your child.
Do not give your child decongestant nose drops, antihistamines, or any other cold medicines unless your child's provider tells you to.
When to Call the Doctor
Call the doctor right away if your child has any of the following:
Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM. Wheezing, bronchiolitis, and bronchitis. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 418.
Scarfone RJ, Seiden JA. Pediatric respiratory emergencies: lower airway obstruction. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 168.
Singer JP, Jones K, Lazarus SC. Bronchiolitis and other intrathoracic airway disorders. In: Broaddus VC, Mason RJ, Ernst JD, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 50.
Review Date: 5/27/2020
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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