Bronchiolitis epidemics occur every winter

Every year, towards the end of autumn and during winter, bronchiolitis returns and overwhelms emergency rooms and health care facilities. This highly contagious respiratory disease accounts for over 64 million cases and 160,000 deaths per year. Therefore, contamination of your child or infant by this virus should be avoided as best possible. Lab-L provides an overview of bronchiolitis, the symptoms of this infectious disease and ways to avoid transmission of this virus.
Bronchiolitis epidemics occur every winter

What is infant bronchiolitis?

Bronchiolitis is a very contagious viral infection of the bronchioles, the small airways that carry air to the back of the lungs. It usually affects children under two years of age, especially babies between 3 and 9 months old. When an infant’s bronchioles become infected, they prevent air from flowing properly through the lungs. When the walls of the bronchioles become inflamed and secretions increase, this leads to obstruction. In infants, this presents as an episode of respiratory discomfort, often accompanied by coughing or rapid, wheezing breathing. Usually preceded by a cold, bronchiolitis lasts from 7 to 12 days, sometimes up to 3 weeks. A child can be infected several times in the same year.

Infant bronchiolitis is most often caused by Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), but it can sometimes be caused by common cold viruses (rhinovirus) or parainfluenza. This is generally mild. However, it can lead to complications in children with weakened immune systems or in young infants under two months of age, which can result in hospitalisation. It is therefore important to protect yourself and your children against infection.

To learn more about the different types of microbes, read the following article: What is a microbe and what are the main types of microorganisms?
How is bronchiolitis transmitted?

How is bronchiolitis transmitted?

As a highly contagious disease, bronchiolitis can be the source of epidemics in autumn and winter, as is currently the case. The transmission of this virus is airborne. This means that while someone is ill, the virus is present in saliva and snot, among other things, and is transmitted by the expulsion of droplets in the following ways:

  • Direct contact: directly from one person to another through bronchial secretions (sputum, coughing, sneezing, etc.) or through contact such as kissing.
  • Indirect contact: through contaminated hands or objects (dummies, bottles, cuddly toys, books, towels, glasses, utensils, food, etc.).

The syncytial virus is very resistant and survives for up to 30 minutes on the skin and up to 7 hours on surfaces and clothing. Lack of hygiene, poorly ventilated places and contact with multiple people facilitate the spread of bronchiolitis.

What are the symptoms of infant bronchiolitis?

Bronchiolitis starts much like a cold or nasopharyngitis: light fever, runny nose, sneezing and sometimes a dry mouth. A few days later, the infant’s breathing becomes more rapid, often laboured, and the cough worsens. In most children, wheezing can even be heard.
What are the symptoms of infant bronchiolitis?

A sigh may be heard when the child forces their breathing and a hollow appears under the ribs. The symptoms are normally mild and have little impact on the child's behaviour. However, they may eat and drink increasingly less because of their fatigue and the mucus that they are unable to clear from their bronchial tubes. Respiratory difficulties normally disappear on their own within a few days.

Some children develop cyanosis, i.e. a bluish colouring of the skin, apnoea, high fever or even an ear infection. In rare cases, breathing difficulties can develop into respiratory distress that requires hospitalisation. Particular vigilance should be given to infants born prematurely and to those with an already strained or weakened immune system.

How can I prevent infant bronchiolitis?

As was the case with the Covid-19 health crisis, a few preventive hygiene rules and social distancing measures are necessary to prevent the transmission of the virus and avoid contracting bronchiolitis or reduce the risk of a recurrence:

  • Wash your hands (and those of all your children) with soap and water regularly and consistently before touching your baby.
  • If you or someone in your family has a cold, wear a mask when caring for your baby. Indeed, a cold in an adult can cause bronchiolitis in a baby.
  • Avoid taking your baby out in crowded or confined places (public transport, shopping centres, hospitals, nurseries, etc.). As the virus is highly contagious, contact with infected people is a considerable risk factor.
  • Avoid kissing your child's face. Instead, opt for the back of the neck or the body, especially if you have the flu.
  • Ventilate your home often and avoid overheating the rooms.
  • Do not smoke in the presence of your child and avoid exposing them to smoke from a stove or vapour from a vaporizer.
  • Even if they are clean, do not exchange one infant's teats, dummies, bottles, teaspoons or utensils with another's.
  • Regularly clean or disinfect toys, stuffed toys, clothes and other childcare accessories at temperatures above 60°C.

Adults and older children who are carriers of these respiratory viruses usually have no symptoms or just a cold. It is therefore important to apply these measures to prevent bronchiolitis infections.

Here are some examples of simple everyday actions to keep your home healthy and clean.
Laurastar DMS Steam, the solution to protect your children from the bronchiolitis epidemic
Laurastar DMS Steam

the solution to protect your children from the bronchiolitis epidemic

The bronchiolitis virus can live for several hours on surfaces. Regularly cleaning everyday objects, especially those in contact with a baby, is one of the ways to prevent infection and reduce the risk of recontamination. Viruses can be killed by hot washing at over 60°C. Unfortunately, not all objects allow this process. One alternative is the use of chemicals.

However, they can also damage certain materials and be harmful to health, especially for young children. But it is possible to disinfect all your belongings easily and effectively by using Laurastar DMS. This disinfects all materials naturally and quickly. It is therefore a perfect part of a preventive routine to protect your child, paying particular attention to anything that comes into contact with the face or mouth:

  • Regularly change and sterilise soothers, teats, bottles and dental rings (everything that babies put in their mouths) with Laurastar DMS. If contaminated, sterilise between uses.
  • Disinfect your baby's stuffed toys with Laurastar DMS as often as possible. Taken everywhere and often put in their mouths, toys are real vectors of contamination.
  • When you get home, disinfect any of your baby's belongings that may have been contaminated with Laurastar DMS: pram, glove, hat, scarf, etc.
  • Wash sheets and towels weekly and steam them with Laurastar DMS.

Dry Microfine Steam technology is found in all Laurastar hygienic steamers.

How to clean baby's bottles? Should dummies be sterilised?
The IGGI steam sterilisation set

The IGGI steam sterilisation setwill be perfect for eliminating the bronchiolitis virus from all of your baby's belongings and those that they put in their mouths: teats, bottles, toothbrushes, teething rings, bath toys, utensils, plush containers, toys or gloves. Not only is it effective in preventing bronchiolitis, but it also eliminates up to 99.99% of viruses, bacteria, fungi and dust mites. This set is perfect for protecting your baby or child from viral infections, bacterial infections, fungal infections, candidiasis and oral thrush, without any chemicals.

Discover IGGI
IGGI steam sterilisation set the solution to protect your children from the bronchiolitis epidemic
Hygienic steamer IZZI the solution to protect your children from the bronchiolitis epidemic
The hygienic steamer IZZI

To reduce the risk of bronchiolitis, it is also important to disinfect larger surfaces such as prams, changing bags, changing tables, mattresses, children's sheets, sofas and playmats. The IZZI high pressure hygienic steamer is the ideal candidate for this task. Powerful, reliable and ergonomic, it eliminates >99.999% of bacteria, viruses, fungi and 100% of dust mites, bed bugs (eggs and adults), clothes mites, lice and nits. It is the perfect ally for sanitising your home and disinfecting large surfaces quickly.

Discover IZZI