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Bronchiolitis (wheezing babies)


Bronchiolitis is an illness that causes babies and young children to wheeze. It most often happens around the beginning of winter.

Some children who have had bronchiolitis as a baby may wheeze when they get other viral infections when they are older.

What is bronchiolitis?

  • Bronchiolitis affects the bronchioles, the smallest airways in the lungs.
  • It is usually caused by the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) but can be caused by influenza viruses, rhinoviruses, adenoviruses and other viruses.
  • It affects children under 12 months, most frequently between 1 month and 6 months of age. Young babies can become seriously ill with the infection.
  • 10-20% of babies with bronchiolitis need to go to hospital. Premature babies and babies with congenital heart disease or cystic fibrosis are at greater risk of becoming ill with this infection.
  • Nearly all young children will have an RSV infection in the first 2 years of their life but only about 10% will get bronchiolitis.

More information - and how to look after a baby with bronchiolitis

There is more information about bronchiolitis on these websites

Royal Children's Hospital (Melbourne - Australia) 

Raising Children Network (Australia) The Raising Children website is produced with the help of an extensive network including the Australian Government.

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The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see a doctor, or ring the Parent Helpline on 1300 364 100 (local call cost from anywhere in South Australia).

This topic may use 'he' and 'she' in turn - please change to suit your child's sex.

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