On Monday 21 November 2022, the Health Directorate of Luxembourg's Ministry of Health issued general recommendations and preventative measures regarding Bronchiolitis.
According to the Health Directorate, Bronchiolitis is a common respiratory disease in infants under the age of two. It mostly appears during the winter months. It is most often caused by a virus called Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) which causes inflammation of the airways including nose, throat and bronchial tubes.
In young children and babies, the bronchi are small and are more easily obstructed by secretions, which leads the child to make sometimes significant efforts to breathe. A baby who breathes faster can then tire very quickly because his muscle reserves are not always sufficient.
How is the virus transmitted?
The Health Directorate clarified that adults and older children who are carriers of RSV usually have no signs or just have a cold. So many people carry the virus and are contagious without knowing it.
The virus spreads easily from person to person through saliva, coughs and sneezes. The virus can remain on hands and objects (such as toys, pacifiers, "cuddly toys", etc.).
Protective measures to avoid bronchiolitis?
The Health Directorate recommends observing the following preventive measures to avoid bronchiolitis:
- Wash hands regularly for 30 seconds with soap and water before contact with an infant, in particular before and after a change, after blowing nose, before a feeding, before a bottle, before a meal, after back to school. If impossible, disinfect with a hydroalcoholic solution.
- Wash toys and comforters regularly.
- Do not share toys and bottles.
- Avoid putting child in a crèche or in a collective daycare before three months of age.
- Ventilate the bedroom regularly.
- Do not expose children to cigarette smoke.
- Breast milk is protective against RSV because it contains antibodies. Breastfeeding for at least the first six months of life and ideally up to two years is beneficial.
- Limit the child's contact with other children. Avoid crowded places or festive events. If the child is at risk or sick, it is advisable to avoid placing him/her in a crèche to limit contact.
- Ask others to wear a mask when they are within two metres of the baby.
- In case of a cold, wear a protective mask in case of contact with the child.
What are the warning signs and when should you see a doctor?
The Health Directorate recommends to remain attentive to thefollowing symptoms, in children under two years of age:
- The baby breathes quickly and the respiratory movements are very visible (the belly swells and the ribs come out with each breath), it sometimes whistles.
- Child no longer nurses or drinks because he/she is exhausted.
- Child falls asleep and sleeps all the time while his/her breathing is very heavy and noisy.
- Child is less than six weeks old.
- Child is a former premature infant aged less than three months.
In case of doubts or additional questions, the Health Directorate recommends to seek advice from a pediatrician or general practitioner.
More information is available on the website https://sante.public.lu/fr/espace-citoyen/dossiers-thematiques/b/bronchiolite.html.