My 15 month child is suffering from Bronchitis. Please let me know what can I do to relieve him from the cough and what kind of diet needs to be followed generally and also during the bronchitis attack.

The common signs of bronchitis in children are runny noses, low grade fevers and sore throats. Other symptoms include wheezing, tightness in the chest, headaches, shortness of breath, a dry cough (this is usually at the onset of bronchitis in children), chills and fatigue. This dry cough turns into a productive cough as the infection grows. In some cases, this bronchitis cough will make the child vomit or gag as he/she coughs. Bronchitis is a respiratory infection that can affect infants, children and adults. The air passages of the child's lung and nose swell up due to a viral infection. There are two types of bronchitis: acute and chronic. Bronchitis in children is usually the acute kind. Bronchitis in children becomes chronic when the symptoms of acute bronchitis are not treated properly and well in time too. Bronchitis should not be taken lightly as it could lead to other serious conditions like pneumonia.

If you notice any of the above listed symptoms, you should take your child to the doctor immediately. The doctor will perform a physical examination and also go through your child's medical history to determine if your child is suffering from bronchitis or not. The following tests may be recommended to see if the child is suffering with bronchitis:-

  • A chest x-ray
  • Lung tests
  • Blood tests
  • Sputum cultures
  • Pulse Oxymetry

The main cause of bronchitis in children is long term exposure to smoking, more so from parents who smoke a great deal. Other causes for bronchitis in children include allergies, pollutants, and cold, damp and overcrowded environments.

Bronchitis treatment in children includes over the counter medications such as cough syrups, using a humidifier in the house or a vaporizer so that the children can both sleep and breathe easier. Children with bronchitis also need plenty of rest. A bronchitis diet should be followed as well. Ensure that your child is getting a nutritious and well balanced diet. Include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as these are high in antioxidants and can prevent your child from getting chronic bronchitis. A wholly fluid diet that is high in nutrition is generally recommended for children and infants. For younger children, milk alone is sufficient, while for older children milk, meat broths, egg albumin or beaten eggs should be given at least every two hours.

Bronchitis in infants can be extremely dangerous. If you notice that your infant has difficulty in breathing and is making squeaky noises while breathing, you should contact your doctor immediately. Bronchitis in infants usually occurs due to an upper respiratory infection. If not treated properly and immediately, bronchitis in infants and children can be fatal.

There are many natural bronchitis remedies that can help soothe this condition. These include:-

  • Giving the child plenty of fluids - this includes water, beverages, and soups and so on. This will keep the child well hydrated and in turn ensure that the lung secretions are thinner and easier to clear.
  • Mix ½ a teaspoonful of turmeric in half a glass of hot milk and give this mixture to the child 2-3 times a day. This is an effective remedy, more so if drunk at bedtime.
  • Keeping the child warm will be beneficial too.
  • Heat a cup of milk and add 3-4 cloves of garlic to it. Boil this on a low heat till the milk reduces to half the quantity. Strain and give this to the child. This helps to relieve the mucus in the throat.
  • Give your child small amounts of onion juice mixed with some honey. This will help as well.

It is necessary to always check with the doctor on the home remedies that you use as also follow proper medical prescription.

answered by G M

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