Bronchitis is an inflammation of the air passages leading to the lungs. Actually, the condition should be called traronchitis because the trachea (the windpipe in the neck and upper chest) is almost always involved in the inflammation, too.
Bronchitis often comes on after a very bad cold or sinus infection. It is usually caused by a virus. Germs such as the streptococcus and the pneumonia germ can also cause bronchitis.
Most children who take good care of themselves when they have a cold don’t get bronchitis. However, if a child is anemic, or too thin, or neglects to stay in bed and do what he is told when he has a cold, he is more likely to develop bronchitis. Also, youngsters with allergies seem to get bronchitis more often. Wintry, damp weather also makes it easier for the viruses and germs to infect the bronchial tubes.
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the air passages leading to the lungs. It causes fluid to collect in the bronchial tubes and air cells, and it not treated, may result in pneumonia.
Here is how a doctor knows that a child has bronchitis:
1. There is a great deal of coughing, often bringing up large amounts of mucus or pus.
2. The temperature goes up, sometimes as high as 102° to 103°.
3. On listening to the chest with a stethoscope, the doctor will hear squeaky sounds called rhonchi.
It is important to take special care of a boy or girl who has bronchitis because, if not treated properly, pneumonia (an infection of the lungs) may develop. This is the way most cases of bronchitis are treated:
1. The child should stay in bed until his temperature has been normal for at least two days.
2. A good deal of the time in bed should be spent in a sitting or semi sitting position. This makes it easier to cough up mucus and pus from the bronchial tubes.
3. The air in the bedroom should be kept warm and moist. Dry, cold air tends to irritate the bronchial tubes.
4. Cough medicines are given to help the child bring up and get rid of the mucus or pus.
5. Aspirin, or some other drug with the same effect as aspirin, is given to relive aching pains and to bring the temperature down to normal.
6. Antibiotic medicines are frequently given if the fever isn’t controlled by giving aspirin, or if the bronchitis lasts longer than a few days. By giving antibiotics,, the child is often protected against developing pneumonia.
Children with severe cases of bronchitis may take a couple of weeks, or even more, to fully recover. And if we want to do our best to prevent another attack of bronchitis, here are some things that should be investigated:
1. If a child has a sinus infection, it should be treated. Sinus infections quite often lead to bronchitis.
2. Infected tonsils and adenoids should be removed because they may lead to an attack of bronchitis.
3. Allergies should be controlled as best as possible. As mentioned before, allergic children are more apt to get attacks of bronchitis.
4. If a child is underweight or anemic or doesn’t have enough vitamins in his diet, these situations should be corrected. Lowered resistance results from being anemic and underweight, thus making it much easier for viruses or germs to invade the bronchial tubes.