Supportive care is best for this infection. Bronchiolitis is a viral infection that causes inflammation and mucus production in the lower airways.
In older children and adults, the virus is nothing more than the common cold, but infants can develop wheezing and difficulty breathing. In the past, many pediatricians would try an inhaled medication in a nebulizer (such as Albuterol or Xopenex) to try and open up the airways. However, new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics no longer recommend nebulizer treatments in bronchiolitis because they have not been shown to have any benefit. Your best bet should be good old nasal saline and a bulb syringe to suction your baby’s nose.
Fevers can be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen depending on the age of your child. Patience is often the best medicine for bronchiolitis as it will last up to 3 weeks.
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, January 2020