Bronchiolitis: Signs and Symptoms

What are the signs and symptoms of bronchiolitis?

The first symptoms of bronchiolitis are usually the same as those of a common cold:

  • Stuffy/runny nose
  • Mild cough
  • Mild fever
  • Mild wheezing (high-pitched whistling noises when exhaling)

Sometimes more severe respiratory difficulties develop, marked by:

  • Fast, shallow breathing
  • A fast heartbeat
  • Retractions (drawing in of the neck and chest with each breath)
  • Faring of the nostrils
  • Irritability, with difficulty sleeping and signs of fatigue or lethargy
  • Poor feeding and dehydration
  • Apnea (pauses in breathing longer than 15 seconds)
  • Cyanosis (blue color of the lips, tongue and skin)

You should seek immediate medical attention if your child is showing signs of severe respiratory difficulties.

Symptoms of bronchiolitis typically last about 12 days, but can last as long as 2 to 3 weeks.