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Bronchiolitis: May 14, 2012

Such a loud noise coming from such a little baby, it gave mom Lauren Smotrila cause for concern.

“It was almost wet sounding like down in her chest you could really feel it when she coughed and that was the most alarming.”

It’s the number one reason infants are taken to the hospital, bronchiolitis, or childhood bronchitis. It’s caused by an infection of the tiny airways that lead to the lungs, called bronchioles.

“The virus causes inflammation in there and as a result of that bronchiolitis, its seen in kids causing quite a bit of respiratory difficulty,” says Dr. Alex Daneshmand, a critical care pediatrician with The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

Almost every child under the age of two gets it at some point. The virus presents with coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

Unlike a cold, which is usually gone in about a week, bronchiolitis can linger for weeks before going away. Some babies are at risk for severe cases that require hospitalization.

“The ones that have lung problems, the ones who are born with heart abnormalities the ones that have immunological abnormalities or the very premature kids - those are the ones that we see getting admitted to the hospital,” says Dr. Daneshmand.

Fortunately, by the end of week two, baby Scarlet was on the mend. Her sickness was nearly as hard on mom.

“We stayed pretty calm throughout it but you know it’s kind of disheartening when your baby gets sick and is not feeling well,” says Smotrila.

Doctors say that if your child ever has difficulty breathing it’s important to seek medical help immediately.