Discharge Instructions for Bronchiolitis (Child)

Your child has been diagnosed with bronchiolitis. This is a viral infection causing inflammation in the small airways in the lungs. It's most common in children under 2 years old. It often starts as a cold and then gets worse. Some children with bronchiolitis are hospitalized because they need oxygen to help them breathe or because they are dehydrated and need more fluids. Here are some instructions to help you care for your child.

Home care

  • Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Ask your child’s healthcare provider how much to give.

  • Try keeping your child's head raised (elevated) to make it easier to breathe. Don't use pillows for infants.

  • Use a rubber suction bulb to remove mucus from your child’s nose. Ask your child’s healthcare provider to show you how to suction the nose if you're not sure how to do it.

  • Clean your hands with alcohol-based hand cleaner before and after touching your child. Your child, if old enough, should also use the hand cleaner.

  • Don’t smoke or let anyone else smoke around your child or in your home.

  • Keep in mind that wheezing and coughing from bronchiolitis can last for weeks after your child is sent home from the hospital. Listen to your child’s breathing for signs that it's getting better or worse.

  • Give all medicines to your child exactly as directed.

Follow-up care

Make a follow-up appointment, or as advised.

Call 911

Call 911 right away if your child has any of these symptoms:

  • Less alert or loss of consciousness

  • Blue, purple, or gray color to skin, fingertips or lips

  • Trouble breathing

  • Unable to talk

  • Wheezing that doesn't get better with treatment

When to call your child's healthcare provider

Call your child’s healthcare provider right away if your child has any of these symptoms:

  • Breathing faster than normal

  • Pale skin color

  • Vomiting

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