What causes bronchitis in children?
Most frequently, bronchitis in kids is caused by a viral infection. The same viruses that cause the flu and the common cold usually cause bronchitis, making it contagious. Less commonly, bronchitis is caused by bacteria.
Regardless of the cause, the result is the same: swollen and inflamed bronchial tubes. The body’s response to bronchial swelling is to produce more mucus, which narrows the openings in your lungs for air to flow through. This leads to the trademark bronchitis symptoms of a productive cough and shortness of breath.
Chronic bronchitis can also be caused by long-term exposure to smoke—including secondhand smoke—as well as other irritants, such as chemical fumes or dust.
- Quit smoking. If you smoke at home, it’s not just your lungs you’re compromising. Exposure to secondhand smoke can lead to chronic bronchitis in your kids.
- Ensure your child receives the annual flu vaccine. The flu virus can cause bronchitis in addition to the flu, so making sure your kid is up-to-date on their vaccines can help reduce their chances of viral infection.
If left untreated
Most cases of viral acute bronchitis will resolve with rest, plenty of fluids, and sometimes medicine for cough or fever. It’s not common, but if your child doesn’t receive treatment for bronchitis, their infection could turn into pneumonia. This is because the viral infection in the airways of the lungs (bronchitis) can travel into the lungs themselves (pneumonia). Pneumonia is a more serious illness than bronchitis, so it’s best to seek the medical treatment necessary for bronchitis as soon as your child begins displaying symptoms. This is especially true since bronchitis symptoms overlap with many other illnesses, so an accurate diagnosis will be important to determine the right course of treatment for your child’s bronchitis.
That’s where DispatchHealth can help. Give us a call to request convenient, in-home acute medical care for your child’s bronchitis. Our services are quick, affordable, and thorough, allowing your child to rest comfortably in bed while receiving the treatment they need. Request a visit online, over the phone, or through our app, and we’ll be on your doorstep within a few hours.
For life-or-limb-threatening or time-sensitive symptoms, injuries, or illnesses, contact 911 immediately.