For the first few days, the signs and symptoms of bronchiolitis are similar to those of a common cold:
- Runny nose
- Stuffy nose
- Slight fever (not always present)
After this, there may be a week or more of breathing difficulty or a whistling noise when breathing out (wheezing).
Many infants will also have an ear infection (otitis media).
When to see a doctor
If it's difficult to get your child to eat and his or her breathing becomes more rapid or labored, contact your child's doctor. This is especially true if your child is younger than 12 weeks old or has other risk factors for bronchiolitis — including premature birth or a heart or lung condition.
The following signs and symptoms are reasons to seek prompt medical attention:
- Breathing very fast — more than 60 breaths a minute — and shallowly
- Skin turning blue, especially the lips and fingernails (cyanosis)
- Refusal to drink enough fluids, or breathing too fast to eat or drink
- Audible wheezing sounds
- Ribs seem to suck inward when infant inhales