Information for the public

Does my child have bronchiolitis?

Your healthcare professional should ask you:

  • has your child got a cough that won't go away?

  • has your child recently had a cold lasting a few days?

  • has your child had a high temperature or fever?

  • does your child have trouble feeding?

  • have you noticed your child's breathing pausing for more than 10¬†seconds? (This is called apnoea, and is especially important for young or premature babies as it might be the only sign they have bronchiolitis.)

Your healthcare professional will check your child for signs of bronchiolitis by listening to their chest and checking their temperature. They may also see how well your child's lungs are working using a test called pulse oximetry, which measures how much oxygen is in the blood. The test works by placing a probe on your child's skin (a finger or toe) that shines light through the skin. How much light is absorbed relates to how much oxygen there is in their blood.

Are there any things that could affect how bad my child's illness is?

Your healthcare professional may need to check other details about your child and your home life too. This is because some things can mean your child's bronchiolitis might be more severe, such as if your child:

  • was born prematurely

  • is very young (less than 3¬†months old)

  • has other diseases and conditions that can affect the illness (like cystic fibrosis, heart disease or muscle problems)

  • has not been breast fed

  • lives in a home where someone smokes.

  • Information Standard