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What is bronchiolitis ?After inhaled air has passed through the nose and throat it enters the trachea then moves down towards the lungs. It then passes through finer and finer passages, each branching out increasingly as they reach further into the lung. This is where the bronchioles, the smallest passageways in the lungs, are located. Bronchiolitis is defined as an infection of the bronchioles.
Bronchiolitis primarily affects young children, notably those under the age of 2. It is a typical winter respiratory illness: in our climate cases of bronchiolitis are usually reported from mid-October until the end of winter, peaking in the month of December. The National Institute for Health Surveillance in France* estimates that it affects around 480,000 children under the age of two every year, which is around one in three. In most cases bronchiolitis is caused by a particular virus known as the human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Amongst other causes are the parainfluenza, adenoviruses, ... They are transmitted through close contact with other infected persons or by sharing toys and other objects.
Bronchiolitis is generally a mild illness in babies over 3 months.
* Institut National de Veille Sanitaire (InVS)
What to expect with bronchiolitis ?Bronchiolitis usually begins with a cold or rhinopharyngitis. The undeveloped immune system in infants and newborns allows the virus to spread to the bronchioles. The bronchioles’ defence mechanism then begins to produce increased amounts of mucus. When the body is unable to expel this mucus it then stagnates in the bronchioles and impedes airflow. The virus is also the cause of inflammation, which has a narrowing effect on the bronchioles. These internal changes then cause the visible symptoms of bronchiolitis. In 2 to 5 days, the cold and light fever will develop into a cough. Your baby will show signs of difficulty breathing, also known as dyspnoea, and may develop a wheeze. Symptoms can prevent your baby from sleeping and eating properly, leaving your baby more prone to crying. In the majority of cases bronchiolitis will clear up on its own but as it can be very worrying for parents, do not hesitate to seek medical advice.
Bronchiolitis prevention and treatmentPreventive measures are based around maintaining good hygiene. Wash your hands before handling your baby and ask others to do the same. Baby’s room should be kept well aired and toys and dummies should be cleaned regularly. Try whenever possible to avoid contact with people who are unwell, particularly during epidemics, and avoid crowded situations where contagion is easily spread. Tobacco smoke is also an aggravating factor.
There is currently no medical treatment for bronchiolitis. Antitussives (cough-suppressants), mucolytics, corticosteroids and bronchodilators are not proven to be effective in accelerating recovery from bronchiolitis.
Antibiotics have no effect unless bronchiolitis is accompanied by a bacterial infection. Ear infections, fever or any change in your child’s condition should be reported to your doctor in order to assess whether treatment with antibiotics might be helpful.
Another technique that helps to relieve the bronchioles is physiotherapy. It acts by helping the body to expel mucus naturally through coughing, allowing air to flow more freely and aiding your baby’s breathing.
Finally, as an additional measure for treating babies suffering with bronchiolitis, experts from the French Society of Paediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend nasal cleansing.
Nasal cleansing with PHYSIOMER: a simple and recommended treatmentDuring the first few months of life babies breathe solely through the nose. This is known as obligate nasal breathing. As the child develops so does the ability to breathe through the mouth however the nose remains essential to healthy breathing. Assuring your baby’s good nasal hygiene is beneficial on two levels:
- to limit viral infections that can cause bronchiolitis;
- to ensure that the nose does not become blocked therefore avoiding additional strain on your child’s breathing.
This is where PHYSIOMER is a valuable ally against bronchiolitis. Nasal cleansing:
- moistens the nasal cavities and aids the natural evacuation of mucus where viruses and bacteria have become trapped;
- increases mucociliary clearance, accelerating mucus removal
PHYSIOMER therefore acts by limiting contact between bacteria and viruses and the nasal mucous membrane. Because the nose is the entry point for bronchiolitis-causing viruses, PHYSIOMER prevents infection from spreading to the bronchioles.
A large-scale clinical study has demonstrated this efficacy. Carried out in 390 children, the study showed that daily use of PHYSIOMER allows you to:
- prevent colds (cutting the number of colds in children by half in those using PHYSIOMER by comparison with those not using it);
- prevent further ENT complications (75% fewer complications in children using PHYSOMER by comparison with those not using it).
When colds or rhinopharyngitis have set in, PHYSIOMER significantly reduces symptoms, illness duration and improves breathing by 45%.
Using a nasal aspirator in addition to nasal cleansing is recommended by expert paediatricians in the case of bronchiolitis, notably before a meal in order to aid breathing and to enable proper feeding. These combined techniques used during a cold or rhinopharyngitis reduce noisy nasal breathing (- 73%) and wheezing (- 82%).
By preventing your baby from catching a cold, nasal cleansing with PHYSIOMER Baby Mist enables the prevention of bronchiolitis. And when colds or rhinopharyngitis do set it, PHYSIOMER together with the nasal aspirator help to speed recovery, reducing the risk of spreading to the bronchioles. It also improves baby’s breathing and clears the nose, helping baby to feed properly and to get through bronchiolitis with the least possible stress.
PHYSIOMER Baby Mist together with PHYSIOMER Nasal Aspirator is the best nasal hygiene solution for the prevention of bronchiolitis and to care for your baby when it has set in.