Every autumn sees the return of this viral disease and each spring its disappearance. More than 80% of bronchiolitis occurs in babies less than 30 months, the peak frequency occurring between 2 and 7 months.
What is bronchiolitis and what is it due to?
- Bronchiolitis is a viral disease. Who says virus, says contagion. This virus (in 70% of cases is respiratory syncytial virus or RSV) is transmitted by nasal secretions and salivary droplets, which means that anyone who suffers from simple rhinitis, nasopharyngitis, laryngitis or bronchitis is likely to contaminate a toddler. The baby is easily infected by his entourage, especially since this virus remains alive for more than seven hours in the projected droplets, contaminating everything in its path.
Why does it affect toddlers?
- More than 80% of bronchiolitis occurs in babies less than 30 months, the peak frequency occurring between 2 and 7 months. Under-2s are a vulnerable population because of their particular lung anatomy. Indeed, their bronchi and bronchioles are narrower and shorter in length, allowing the virus to invest their lungs faster.
What are the symptoms of bronchiolitis?
- By penetrating the bronchi, the virus creates an inflammation that itself will generate hypersecretion of mucus and clog the bronchi. If this condition is considered benign, it can develop severe forms in children under 3 months of age.
- It usually starts with a cold, accompanied by a low fever. The infant then gradually coughs, breathes loudly with a hiss, then encounters a greater or lesser difficulty in breathing. The difficulty of drinking is a sign of gravity that must prompt consultation.
What are the preventive measures to put in place?
- The key is to limit contact between the infant and those potentially carrying viruses. This obviously concerns another baby with bronchiolitis, but also an adult or another child with a cold, fever or cough.
- If a big brother or sister is already attending the nursery or schoolyou have to teach him very early to wash his hands, especially when he arrives at home. It is also important to explain that kisses on the belly or feet are as pleasant for the baby as those given on the cheek. In the same way, it is better for the eldest to stand next to the baby, and not in front of the baby, thus limiting the problems related to sneezing.
- If you have a cold (this is obviously valid for anyone caring for the little one), wear a mask during feedings.
- Finally, be particularly rigorous about hygiene: wash your hands thoroughly before each change and during care, before giving a medicine or applying an ointment, after blowing your elder or being blotched yourself.
- Last important step: disinfect systematically the plan to change to bleach!