Bronchiolitis

Bronchiolitis is an inflammation of the small air passages (bronchioles), usually caused by a virus (respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is one such virus). Bronchiolitis usually affects children under the age of 2 years. It is the leading cause of serious lower respiratory illness in infants.

Symptoms of bronchiolitis include labored, rapid breathing with wheezing and a "tight"-sounding cough. If the infection becomes severe, the infant's breathing rate may increase noticeably. If severe difficulty breathing occurs, immediate medical attention is needed.

Last Updated: July 11, 2008

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & Mark A. Rasmus, MD - Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine

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