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Bronchitis in children: Recognizing Signs and Providing Relief

An inflammation of the lining of bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from your lungs. Those with bronchitis frequently expel thickened mucus, sometimes discoloured. The condition can manifest as either acute or chronic.


  • Persistent cough, often producing mucus or phlegm.
  • Wheezing or whistling sounds when breathing.
  • Chest congestion or discomfort.
  • Low-grade fever or occasionally higher fever
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing


Acute bronchitis is caused by viruses, including RSV, influenza, and rhinovirus, with bacterial infections like Streptococcus pneumoniae or Haemophilus influenzae less common. Chronic bronchitis is linked to long-term exposure to irritants like cigarette smoke, air pollution, or industrial fumes. Conditions like asthma or cystic fibrosis can also make children more prone to bronchitis.


  • Medical history
  • Physical examination
  • Chest X-ray
  • Lab tests, such as sputum culture or blood tests, may help identify the causative agent


Rest and staying hydrated are essential for fighting off the infection. Over-the-counter medications like cough suppressants or expectorants can help manage cough symptoms. Antibiotics are prescribed for bacterial bronchitis, but not for viral infections. Nebulized bronchodilators are used in children with severe wheezing or breathing issues, especially if they have asthma. Humidifiers or steam inhalation can help loosen mucus and relieve chest congestion.


Preventing bronchitis involves practicing good hygiene, avoiding exposure to smoke and pollutants, ensuring vaccinations, and managing underlying conditions like asthma effectively.

Bronchitis in children is a common respiratory condition characterized by inflammation of the bronchial tubes. While most cases are acute and caused by viral infections, chronic bronchitis can result from long-term exposure to respiratory irritants. Early recognition of symptoms, appropriate treatment, and preventive measures are essential for managing bronchitis effectively and reducing the risk of complications in children.