Discharge Instructions for Bronchiolitis (Pediatric)

Your child has been diagnosed with bronchiolitis, which is a viral infection causing inflammation in the small airways in the lungs. It's most common in children under 2 years of age. It usually starts as a cold and then gets worse. Some children with bronchiolitis are hospitalized because they need oxygen to help them breathe or because they are dehydrated and need more fluids. Here are some instructions to help you care for your child.

Home care

  • Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Ask your child’s doctor how much to give.

  • Try keeping your child's head elevated (raised) to make it easier for him or her to breathe. Do not use pillows for infants.

  • Use a rubber suction bulb to remove mucus from your child’s nose. Ask your child’s healthcare provider to show you how to suction the nose if you are not sure how to do it.

  • Clean your hands with alcohol-based hand cleaner before and after touching your child. Your child, if old enough, should also use the hand cleaner.

  • Don’t smoke or allow anyone else to smoke around your child.

  • Keep in mind that wheezing and coughing from bronchiolitis can last for weeks after your child is sent home from the hospital. Listen to your child’s breathing for signs that it is getting better or worse.

  • Give all medicines to your child exactly as directed.

Follow-up care

Make a follow-up appointment, or as advised.

Call 911

Call 911 right away if your child has:

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Blue lips

  • Trouble breathing or has stopped breathing

When to call your child's healthcare provider

Call your child’s healthcare provider right away if your child has:

  • Wheezing that becomes worse

  • Fast breathing

  • Paleness

  • Vomiting