Pediatric Bronchitis – Parents' Guide To Dealing With It

Bronchitis is a respiratory problem which can be found in the lower tract. It occurs when there is an inflammation of the airway tubes that include the trachea and larger air tubes that carry oxygen to the lungs.

There are two types of bronchitis infections: acute and chronic.

Followed by viruses, acute infections usually bother the nasal passages, sinuses, and throat and then going to the larger tubes. Sometimes bacteria cause the infection.

When parents smoke around their children, the kids are likely to get sick with bronchitis much easier than those not around smoke. Children who have a pre-existing condition or heart disease are also at risk.

Chronic bronchitis is produced by an overabundance of mucus that causes a productive cough. Until the infection is cleared, it progresses into a constant inflammation that can hinder the stream of air. It can also cause serious damage of the tract.

COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a respiratory problem that can cause long time issues for the patient in doing physical activity and normal breathing.

The main culprit for kids is the constant, long-term exposure of smoking. Sometimes allergies and environmental irritants can be troublesome for them too.

What are the symptoms?

For children, preventive measures need to be taught earlier. Kids need to know to cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough. They also need to continuously wash their hands. Kids also need a flu vaccine to help them fight any type of breathing problems. If the parents or grandparents can stop smoking, this would be beneficial for the children too.

Both types of infections have similar symptoms:

* Tires easily
* Wheezing
* Difficulty breathing worsened by physical exertion
* Mucus filled cough (if there is any blood in the mucus, then consult in the child's physician.
* Rales (these are abnormal sounds that are found in the lungs by the doctor.)

There are several tests that can be used to diagnose children's respiratory problems. They include: x-rays, pulse oxymetry, pulmonary lung functions, arterial blood gas and sputum.

If it's left untreated, the infection can develop into more serious respiratory infections that include pneumonia, pulmonary hypertension, heart failure on the right side as well as emphysema.

When it seems there is no infections, doctors will treat the child for a common cold. This means staying in bed, drink lots of fluid. Using a humidifier can help the child get over the cold much quicker. If the child experiences dry cough, it would be necessary to use a cough suppressant for their own comfort. Aspirin is a no-no for children because of the danger of Reye's syndrome. Tylenol or Motrin should be the only two medicines parents should use.

Sometimes to get the mucus moving, doctors may suggest using expectorants. These types of medicine will thin the mucus out, which makes it easier to get rid of quicker. Before doing this, consult the pediatrician.

Antibiotics will only be prescribed for bacteria related bronchitis. Like adults, children need to take the medicine as directed to avoid recurrences. Children under age 8 will be given Amoxicillin instead of other types of medicines.

As for chronic problems, treatment depends on how far into the disease you are. Children need a healthy environment and supervised exercise. Some medications can be used to relieve the stress on the bronchial tubes thus allowing air to flow through.

Preventive measures are always better than a cure. Parents who smoke need to remember that when they smoke so do their children who in turn also face health problems.