Bronchiolitis is successfully diagnosed by running a combination of tests to get conclusive results.
• The most useful is of course, a chest x-ray to eliminate the presence of pneumonia or lodged foreign object inhaled by the patient.
• The next step in the diagnostic approach is to use a stethoscope to check for wheezing and laboured breathing.
• A nasopharyngeal mucous swab is also taken to check for virus type.
• Blood tests are also ordered to check both white blood cell count as well as blood oxygen levels.
• Visible signs of dehydration are often taken into account especially if the child has lost appetite such as fatigue, dry mouth, wrinkled skin etc
Since Bronchiolitis is a viral infection, antibiotic usage is ruled out unless the bronchiolitis has led to the development of secondary infectious conditions such as pneumonia, middle ear bacterial infection etc where antibiotics need to be prescribed to treat the secondary condition.
On it’s own, Bronchiolitis is treated with supportive therapy such as with usage of bronchodilators like Ventolin, Salbutamol, Ipratropium or even Racemic epinephrine etc to ease breathing. Anti-viral drugs such as Ribavirin may also prove effective.
Physical methods are also employed to clear the nasopharangeal duct to help easy airflow through the air passage. Suction may be done through a nasogastric tube. At times CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) type mechanical ventilation device may be used to aid breathing.
Depending on visible symptoms nebulisation, humidifiers and intravenous fluids may be given to overcome immediate crisis.
• Avoid contact with those who have viral flu or are displaying symptoms of cold.
• Wash hands often of the child and also have her/his primary caregiver maintain good wash hygiene.
• Disinfect common usage surfaces such as door knobs, computer keyboard, phone mouthpiece, tabletops, floor etc.
• Dispose of tissues after single use in a bin.
• Consider the use passive vaccine drug Palivizumab of to reduce the chances of contracting RSV infections.