Blogger Charlie O’Brien has shared a video of her daughter struggling with bronchitis to show parents what to look out for.
The post shows the mum’s then-four-week-old daughter Luna breathing in a laboured and unusual way.
‘She had a really quiet day of sleeping and barely any crying (unusual for Luna!)’ Charlie explained. ‘I was watching her sleep next to me and realised it didn’t look right. I unbuttoned her babygrow and this is what I saw.’
‘Sucking in at ribs is a sign to get your baby or child to hospital,’ the mum warned. ‘She had bronchiolitis and her oxygen levels were very low. Luckily, after a night on oxygen she made a very good recovery.’
According to the NHS, one in three children in the UK will get bronchiolitis before their first birthday and about half will have had it by the time they turn two. It’s most common between November and March, and it’s possible to catch it more than once in the same season.
The condition is caused by a respiratory virus called respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which is spread through coughs and sneezes. Bronchiolitis infects the small passageways known as bronchioles in the lungs. Infected bronchioles become inflamed, meaning less air can enter the lungs, which can make it difficult to breathe.
The early symptoms are similar to cold symptoms and include a cough and runny nose. Symptoms like fever, difficulty feeding and rapid or noisy breathing will then develop over the next few days.
In most cases, children with bronchiolitis can be cared for at home as the condition usually clears up without treatment within two weeks. However, two to three per cent will develop more serious breathing difficulties and have to be admitted to hospital. Premature babies and babies with heart or lung conditions are more likely to develop complications.
See your GP or call 111 if your child has a temperature of 38C or more, seems very tired or irritable, has taken less than half their usual amount during their last two or three feeds or has had a dry nappy for more than 12 hours.
Call 999 if there are long pauses in your baby’s breathing, you think your baby is having difficulty breathing or their tongue or lips are blue.