I didn’t realise my child had bronchiolitis

Clare’s first child, Emma, was 11 months old when she developed bronchiolitis.

Emma was generally healthy but as winter approached she’d picked up some viruses that affected her stomach, and others that affected her breathing.

I didn’t think it was any different this time. I noticed she had a bit of a temperature, wasn’t feeding so well and had been sleepy. Her nose was blocked and also runny – but I was relaxed.

I started to get concerned

After a few days, I started to get more concerned when she didn’t get her appetite back. Her breathing wasn’t improving – it was noisy. She slept longer in the day, but her sleep was disturbed during the night.

I was keen not to be a neurotic mother, I held off going to our GP.

I gave her lots to drink and paracetamol. I knew I needed to spot if she got dehydrated, so I kept an eye on the number of wet nappies. I was keen not to be a neurotic mother, I held off going to our GP.

I had a look online to read descriptions of difficulty breathing and coughing, but I didn’t find them very helpful in identifying what Emma’s breathing sounded like.

After 5 days, my husband said we needed to take her to the doctor, as Emma seemed to be getting worse. He thought the sound she was making was more than a cold (it turned out to be ‘bad wheezing’).

Emma has bronchiolotis

Our GP told us Emma had bronchiolitis and said we were doing all the right things.

Keeping her hydrated was really important. She said that if Emma didn’t improve in the next few days we should come back, and if she got a lot worse, to go straight to A&E. She was concerned because Emma had lost weight with her earlier viruses.

I had heard of bronchiolitis and I knew it could be serious, but I didn’t realise that Emma had more than a cold.

Now I know what wheezing sounds like, I’m more confident I’d spot the difference with her younger sister.


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6 December 2016