Bronchiolitis – When It’s More Than Just A Cold

Last month Oliver caught a really bad cold, he was sniffling, coughing and just generally feeling under the weather. We didn’t get much sleep at all for three nights. But when your baby is unwell, you just switch to mum-mode, you don’t really have time to think about sleep deprivation! O is such a little trooper when he was unwell, he played with his toys, ate and drank normally and we stayed in our pyjamas most of the time and watched movies together.

His cough became worse over the fourth night, it was hoarse and sounded so sore; he was up a few times during the night and I ended up taking him into the spare room with me. When we woke up that morning, I took him downstairs and got his breakfast ready as normal. He was in the living room where I could see him watching Peppa Pig and I kept hearing a noise. I thought it was the TV at first, then checked if the extractor fan was on but it wasn’t. It was actually O wheezing.

I gave him his breakfast and it was still niggling away at me, but he started playing with his toys, running around the living room – just acting like his normal self. About fifteen minutes passed and I thought this just isn’t right. I thought about taking him to A&E but I always feel like I over-react in general, so I phoned our GP and got an appointment within the hour instead. I expected to leave with an “it’s normal, he’s just got a cold’, so when I didn’t get that, I went into complete shock and ended up breaking down in tears.

By the time we got to see the doctor, O was breathing so heavily that his ribs were protruding between breaths. I’ve never seen anything like it and to happen to such a small person was terrifying. Being told your child is struggling to breathe is just not nice. I was told to take him immediately to The Sick Kids hospital.

When we arrived, he was examined and given a nebuliser which administers asthma medication. O freaked out and he screamed and wriggled about every time the doctor tried to cover his mouth with it. I had to hold his arms and body down so she could cover his mouth and nose with the nebuliser. Seeing your baby like that is not pleasant.

Nebuliser with inhaler attached.

Thankfully O got better over the following few hours, he was more exhausted than anything else. We were sent home a while later, with an inhaler to administer over the next four days. It could have been a lot worse, luckily O didn’t need to be admitted and he recovered very quickly at home. I wish I’d known more about the signs and symptoms, as I may have headed straight to A&E, so here’s a few things to look out for if the situation should arise with your children.

After a cuddle with Daddy, O fell fast asleep!

Bronchiolitis is a common lower respiratory tract infection which affects babies and young children under 2 years, and has the same symptoms of a common cold. After a few days other symptoms can appear – fever, wheezing, difficulty feeding and a dry persistent cough.

What I learnt from the experience is a mother knows best and should trust her instincts. I’ve not had a bad experience (thankfully not many!) from The Sick Kids in Edinburgh (fortunately only a few visits); they are always so helpful, lovely and I have never been made to feel that I am wasting anybody’s time. I presume all children’s hospitals are similar, well I’d like to think so; who wouldn’t want to help a sick child?!

You can find information on the NHS website about treatments, symptoms and what to do if you’re worried about your child. Definitely go with your gut – it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Kids do love to frighten us, but thankfully my baby was okay – and that’s all that matters!


Listen to your parental instincts, we’re not wrong very often! 

Natalie x


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