Bronchiolitis: Types, causes and symptoms


An inflammatory respiratory condition – bronchiolitis – is caused due to infection in the small breathing passages inside the lungs, called bronchioles. When infected, these passages tend to swell or become clogged, and block the flow of oxygen, explain experts at AMRI Hospital, one of the best hospitals in Kolkata. Although, this medical condition is quite common in children, it can also be found in some adults.

Types of bronchiolitis

There are mainly two types of bronchiolitis – Viral bronchiolitis and Bronchiolitis obliterans.

  • Viral bronchiolitis affects only infants and children under the age of 1 year. It is mainly caused due to the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  • Bronchiolitis obliterans can be seen only in adults. It blocks your air passages, leading to an irreversible airway obstruction

Symptoms of bronchiolitis

  • Breathlessness
  • Wheezing/whistling sound while breathing
  • Bluish appearance of the skin due to lack of oxygen
  • Crackling or rattling sounds heard in the lungs
  • Fatigue
  • Ribs appear sunken during attempts to inhale (in children)
  • Nasal flaring (in babies)
  • Fast breathing
  • Cough

What causes bronchiolitis?

  • Causes of Viral bronchiolitis

Viral bronchiolitis is mainly caused due to viruses infecting your respiratory tract. Listed below are some of the most common causes of bronchiolitis:

  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)

One of the most common causes of bronchiolitis, RSV mainly affects children of age 2 or less. It is a serious condition, which is contagious and leads to inflammation, mucus production and swelling in the air tract, warn experts at AMRI Hospitals, which specializes in the best treatment for bronchiolitis with a team of the best pulmonologists in Kolkata.

  • Adenoviruses

Attacking the mucous membranes, adenoviruses is responsible for about 10 percent of acute respiratory tract infections in children.

  • Influenza viruses

An infection common in both adults as well as children, influenza viruses lead to inflammation in the lungs, nose, and throat. Infants with low immunity are highly prone to influenza viruses.

  • Causes of bronchiolitis obliterans

Bronchiolitis obliterans is caused due to no specific reason. It is a severe medical condition, which can also result in death, if not treated timely. Listed below are some of the identified causes of this medical condition:

  • Smoke and vapours from chemicals like ammonia, bleach, and chlorine
  • Respiratory infections
  • Side-effects of medications
  • Risk Factors:

Infants younger than 3 months of age are at greatest risk of getting bronchiolitis because their lungs & immune systems aren’t yet fully developed. Other factors that are associated with an increased risk of bronchiolitis in infants, or more severe illness due to bronchiolitis, include:

  • Premature birth
  • An underlying heart or lung condition
  • A depressed immune system
  • Exposure to tobacco smoke
  • Never having been breast-fed breast-fed babies receive immune benefits from the mother
  • Contact with multiple children, such as in a child care setting.
  • Prevention

Because the viruses that cause bronchiolitis spread from person to person, one of the best ways to prevent it is to wash your hands frequently especially before touching your baby when you have a cold or other respiratory illness. Wearing a face mask at this time is appropriate.

  • Cover coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Then throw away the tissue and wash your hands or use alcohol hand sanitizer.
  • Use your own drinking glass. Don’t share glasses with others, especially if someone in your family is ill.
  • Wash hands often. Frequently wash your own hands and those of your child. Keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer handy for yourself and your child when you’re away from home.
  • Breast-feed. Respiratory infections are significantly less common in breast-fed babies.



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Amit Gupta is the Founder of Advertising Spider & Advertising Flux - Leading Classified and Business Listing Website. He writes a personal blog and creative digital marketer with 5+ years of experience. He is also SEO Analyst on Four Tech digital Lab. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter or find him at Google+. He is also run website Amazing Viral Post - The hub of Viral Story.