My sweet Sister Nicole was kind enough to write the blog post this week about something that is SUPER IMPORTANT, bronchiolitis, or as my sister put it in understandable terms for me… A really bad cold.
My sweet Jamesy boy got really sick in November and it got to the point where he needed breathing treatments. This was the first time out of my four boys that a cold had taken this severe of a turn.
I was anxious and did not know what to do! The doctor’s were helpful but they were using terms that I did not quite understand, so I turned to my amazing sister Nicole who is a respiratory therapist, and she was able to explain what was going on and gave me a lot encouragement and HOPE.
Jamesy boy did get better, thank heavens for that!
Without further ado Nicole:
There was a time that winter was in fact my favorite season. Living in Utah and being amongst the greatest snow on Earth and being an avid skier made January and February my favorite months of the year. I worked three days a week at the hospital and spent another three days in the mountains. What wasn’t there to like? Fast forward a couple years and a couple kids later and that is no longer the case.
Instead of thinking about all the fresh powder in the mountains I now spend a lot of that time at home and at work caring for kids with bronchiolitis.
So what is bronchiolitis exactly? Many of you this time of year have heard these words bronchiolitis, RSV, Paraflu, Flu A, Flu B, and the list goes on. Bronchiolitis is an infection of the bronchioles, or smaller airways in the lungs, and is commonly seen in infants and young children. It is caused primarily from RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) but can also be caused by influenza A, rhinovirus, and a variety of other viruses. Although there are many viruses floating around, prevention and treatment are often the same.
So let’s start with prevention because it’s always better to be able to avoid getting sick.
One of the best ways and often overlooked to prevent spreading or getting the viruses floating around is good hand hygiene. Always wash hands with soap and water before eating anything. If you don’t have a sink and soap handy carry hand sanitizer around. Infants are known to put hands in their mouths. Keep that in mind when they’ve been playing with toys or crawling around. Let hand sanitizer become something that is always in your diaper bag/purse.
While on the topic of sanitizing have you noticed those wipes next the the shopping carts? Use them!
Other prevention includes keeping kids home when sick, teaching your kids to cough or sneeze into the crook of their arm or into a tissue instead of their hands, plenty of fruits and veggies, water, and keep the newborns younger than 6-12 weeks old home if at all possible.
So you’ve done all the tips of keeping your sweet child away from the nastiness going around and they somehow still come down with bronchiolitis. BOO! This happened to my little boy when he was two months old. It was right before I was heading back to work at the Children’s Hospital.
So how did I know it was bronchiolitis? Here are a few signs: runny nose, congestion, cough, wheezing (whistling) in lungs, fever, shortness of breath, and labored breathing. When I saw the signs, even with being a respiratory therapist and seeing this ALL THE TIME, I still took my sweet little guy to the pediatrician to reinforce what I already knew and to make a plan. Your pediatrician is there to help you know exactly what is going on (sometimes it could be something else that requires different treatment) and will also help you know when you should be seeking urgent care. They will check breath sounds, oxygen saturations, count how fast your child is breathing, assess the work of breathing, take a temperature, and may even send samples of your child’s mucus.
Now you are home and your doctor let you know it was bronchiolitis. Some suggestions that you may have gotten to help with recovery may include rest, plenty of fluid, a humidifier, possibly some breathing medications, and to watch, watch, watch. Here are the things to look for in knowing your kiddo may need some extra attention from a health professional.
- Retractions (sucking in between the ribs when breathing)
- Nasal Flaring
- Decreased Drinking/Eating (few wet diapers)
- Breathing Rapidly
- Bluish Color in lips or fingers/toes
- Labored Breathing
If you are ever in doubt it NEVER hurts to call your pediatrician for help. At the hospital I work at we have a suction clinic that is a great resource for parents to get their kids assessed and suctioned out. Check with your physician on what’s available where you live.
There are a couple of things that I personally think are crucial when my kids have a bad cold and that is a humidifier and the NoseFrida (a little saline will help too). If you do use a humidifier be sure to read the directions on cleaning/sanitizing otherwise you may be causing more problems by creating mold. Also I am an avid suctioner of the nose, I can’t help it, it must be in my blood! This is much to my children’s dismay and they tend to learn how to blow their own noses at an unusually young age… My favorite device is called the snot sucker or the NoseFrida. Just a few years ago I could only find them on Amazon but now they are usually at Target, Buy Buy Baby, Babies R Us, and I’ve also heard Wal Mart. People are catching onto their awesomeness and you should too!
Best of luck this respiratory season and I hope all your precious kids are able to avoid any and all sickness this time of year!
Tales of the Shop:
At the beginning of the post I mentioned that I needed to give James breathing treatments, I was so nervous but my neighbor helped me, and it is not as hard as it may look. I am so grateful for Nicole, she is such an incredible lady, and she can do it all!