Bronchiolitis

Treatment for bronchiolitis

Bronchiolitis usually gets better by itself and most children can be looked after at home.

Make sure your baby gets enough fluids

Your baby is getting enough fluids if they still have wet nappies.

Keep an eye out to see if your baby is struggling to feed and taking longer than usual.

If you’re bottle-feeding, watch to see if your baby is completing the bottle in the usual time. It may be better to give smaller feeds more frequently so your baby doesn't become tired.

Give paracetemol or ibuprofen

No medicines can cure bronchiolitis – give your baby the normal medicines you would give for a cold such as paracetamol or ibuprofen made for infants. If you’re not sure what to give your child, ask your pharmacist.

A high temperature can be scary but it’s a natural response to infection. Keep your baby cool but don’t try and reduce your child’s fever by sponging them with water. 

Keep your baby away from fumes

Cigarette smoke, burning wood and paint fumes can make breathing more difficult. 

Avoid spreading the virus

Bronchiolitis is highly infectious. Keep toys and surfaces clean and make sure everyone who comes into contact with your baby washes their hands thoroughly.

What about antibiotics?

Bronchiolitis is caused by a virus so antibiotics will not help. Doctors should not prescribe them.

Last medically reviewed: September 2016. Due for review: September 2019

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.