Bronchiolitis is an inflammation of the small air passages (bronchioles), usually caused by a virus (respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is one such virus).
Bronchiolitis affects infants. It is the leading cause of serious lower respiratory illness in infants.
Symptoms of bronchiolitis include laboured, rapid breathing with wheezing and a cough that sounds "tight." If the infection becomes severe, the infant's breathing rate may increase noticeably.
If severe difficulty breathing occurs, immediate medical attention is needed.
Current as of: August 21, 2015
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine & John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Public Health Alerts
Public health alerts include information about outbreaks, advisories and product recalls. Click on the links below to read the most recent alerts, or visit our Public Health Alerts web page.
Want More Information?
HealthLink BC, your provincial health line, is as close as your phone or the web any time of the day or night, every day of the year.
Call 8-1-1 toll-free in B.C. or for deaf and hearing-impaired, call 7-1-1.
You can speak with a health service navigator, who can also connect you with a:
- registered nurse any time, every day of the year;
- registered dietitian from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday;
- pharmacist from 5pm to 9am, every day of the year.
Translation services are available in more than 130 languages.
FIND Services and Resources
If you are looking for health services in your community, you can use our directory to FIND hospitals, clinics, and other resources.
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Is it an emergency?
If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be life-threatening. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately. If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.