When she was 11 months old Jelly Baby caught Bronchiolitis. I was just weaning her off breast milk and onto cows milk and she became very sickly. I now think that was due to me weaning her off too quickly and not giving her own immune system time to kick in, but that is another issue.
She seemed to come down with a cold, and then she got very poorly, she slept all day and had a raging temperature. She wouldn’t eat or drink and when she started to wheeze we became very worried. We took her down to the out of hours doctors who sent us to the hospital with her. They diagnosed bronchiolitis, which is a narrowing of the smaller airways in the lungs. As she was simply hysterical every time a doctor touched her and they said that nebuliser didn’t work well with babies that age we were sent home to keep an eye on her. She recovered but was quite sickly for a fair couple of months, which they had warned us she would be.
Now she is 20 months and last weekend the same thing happened. She became very poorly from what was seemingly just a cold and on Sunday night she was wheezing so badly that we took her straight to A&E. She was diagnosed with a virus and we were told that as a result of her having bronchiolitis as a baby she would be more prone to developing a wheeze whenever she got ill. They gave her an inhaler, which helps her cough if not her wheeze.
As she also has eczema we were also told to keep an eye out for what her breathing and chest is like when she is well, as there may be a small chance of her having asthma.
It is now Thursday and her cold is very much better, but her chest is still bad. She seems quite out of breath and you can hear a small wheeze still. She coughs when outside. We have been weaning the inhaler off her as we were advised, but she is not making much improvement as yet.
The doctor said that the effects of bronchiolitis are fairly long term…maybe until she is 5, maybe a little longer. That is if she has not now developed asthma.
I’m writing this largely so that people are more aware of bronchiolitis and it’s long term effects. Before Jelly Baby had it, I had never heard of it, but as many as 1 in 3 babies will succumb to it, especially in the colder winter months. We will now have to be extra vigilant about germs, washing hands and trying to minimise contact with sick children, whilst balancing that against letting her live a full and active life.
Breathing problems are serious in young children, and I know that babies die from bronchiolitis every year. We have been relatively lucky, and now we have an inhaler to help her should she get into difficulty again and we are very grateful.