Skip the car ride and receive pediatric care at home
Chest congestion, a cough, a fever, and other symptoms can make it difficult for kids to muster the energy to climb into the backseat of the car to head to the doctor’s office. When this is the case, you can rely on DispatchHealth to provide convenient, in-home diagnosis and treatment for pediatric bronchitis. When you request a visit, we’ll be on your doorstep within a few hours geared up with most of the equipment you’ll find in the emergency room. And we accept most major forms of health insurance, also offering an affordable flat rate for uninsured patients.
If this is a life-or-limb-threatening emergency or time-sensitive illness/injury, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.
Bronchitis symptoms & when to seek treatment
The tubes that carry air to your lungs, called the bronchial tubes, can sometimes become swollen and inflamed. This is what’s referred to as bronchitis, and there are two different types: acute bronchitis and chronic bronchitis. Acute bronchitis is more common in kids, resulting in symptoms that usually last a few weeks. Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, shows persistent symptoms, often going away and coming back.
Symptoms of both chronic and acute bronchitis include many cold-like symptoms, including:
- Shortness of breath
- Wheezing when breathing
- A productive cough
- Chest congestion
Acute bronchitis also sometimes includes a sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, and flu-like symptoms, such as aches, chills, fatigue, and fever. It’s also important to note that a cough associated with acute bronchitis can persist for weeks even after other symptoms have cleared up.
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.
How to prevent bronchitis in children
Since most cases of acute bronchitis are caused by viral infections, the best way to prevent bronchitis in your child is to teach them good hygiene habits to avoid coming into contact with bronchitis-causing viruses. This includes teaching them to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly—especially after being in public places—and to cover their mouth/nose when coughing or sneezing. Additionally, you can:
- 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.