The bronchiolitis is an inflammation that is recorded in ducts known as bronchioles (subdivisions of the bronchi within the lungs). To understand precisely what bronchiolitis is, therefore, we need to first know the meaning of other terms.
An inflammation is a pathological change that occurs in a sector of the body in response to a harmful agent. Inflammations are characterized by swelling and redness in the area.
We said that the bronchioles are subdivisions of the bronchi, two tubes that arise in the trachea and enter the lungs. It is precisely in this part of the body that is in the thorax, where the blood is oxygenated and releases carbon dioxide, a process driven by respiration.
Having these concepts clear, it is easier to understand what bronchiolitis is. This inflammation of the bronchioles is usually caused by the action of a virus. The infection can also cause a cough, runny nose, fever, and trouble breathing.
Precisely, the first symptoms of bronchiolitis are similar to those of a cold: excessive mucus in the nose to the point of clogging it, moderate cough for a few days and fever. Subsequently, the situation may remain stable or worsen, especially coughing and shortness of breath, with physical changes such as widening of the nostrils and exaggerated abdominal movements.
The ribs become easily visible, the breath becomes wheezy (whistling-like sounds are heard), or it becomes dirty with bass noises. The reason for these phenomena is the obstruction caused by inflammation of the bronchi. Although the process takes about a week, the worst symptoms appear around the third day.
According to DigoPaul, bronchiolitis is common in children up to two years of age. In adults, inflammation can appear when the person is a smoker.
Treatment may include supplying oxygen to make breathing easier, sucking in nasal secretions, and drinking large amounts of fluids to avoid dehydration.
Bronchiolitis generally does not require hospitalization of the patient, except in children under three months or in individuals with other comorbidities. In adults, there is a risk of bronchiolitis turning into pulmonary fibrosis.
When the patient is a child, parents should follow the signs to the pediatrician, as I take it to be inquiries review and have patience, since the evolution of bronchiolitis is slow. If a worsening is noticed, then it is recommended to go to a health center as soon as possible, especially if the child suffers from heart disease or if he has any of the following symptoms:
* vomiting and dehydration (the second can derive from the first, or because of a lack of appetite);
* excessive or more sleepiness than usual;
* purple skin, especially on the fingertips and around the mouth;
* rapid breathing or lapses of lung inactivity.
The most important risk factors for bronchiolitis, among which age stands out, are directly related to the severity of its manifestation. People under three months of age are those who are at the highest risk of hospitalization, especially premature infants, probably because their bronchial tubes have not finished widening.
In addition to premature birth, we can mention other risk factors, such as the absence of breastfeeding (at this point it is important to remember that advances in science continue to search for effective replacements for mother’s milk, although no alternative is equivalent yet), exposure to other people who may suffer from this disease and to tobacco smoke.