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Health Highlights: Bronchiolitis and treating mild symptoms at home

Woman with sore throat

Becoming a new parent can be overwhelming. Adding on the potential of a winter cold or virus only adds more stress. 

OSF HealthCare doctors share reassuring tips to help treat symptoms this winter season. 

You've probably heard of Bronchitis, an illness that impacts the larger lung airways. This winter, here's another illness with “Bronch” in the title to know, especially if you have young kids: Bronchiolitis. 

Awad Alyami, MD, a pediatrician with OSF HealthCare, shares warning signs to look out for.

“You need to see a doctor if your baby has trouble breathing at any time. Or if your baby is younger than three months and they have a fever. Or if they are older than three months and they have a fever for more than three days. Or if the child has signs of dehydration, like if they are making fewer wet diapers than normal," Dr. Alyami says. 

Treatment involves staying comfortable until symptoms resolve. In serious cases, you may need to go to the hospital and get help to breathe easier. 

But when your symptoms are milder, staying at home is what you need to do to help hospitals and clinics not be overrun. 

Zinc tablets within 24 hours of cold symptoms can inhibit a virus and Vick's VapoRub can help ease breathing and sleeping. Staying hydrated is key, especially for kids. 

Kimberly Walker, MD, a family medicine physician with OSF HealthCare, has tips for treating babies who can't always be given medicine. 

“The biggest thing is going to be nasal irrigation with saline and making sure their airways are clear of mucus," Dr. Walker says. "Really suctioning and getting those airways clear is very important for them."

Dr. Walker says celery can help numb the throat and provide relief for sore throats. She adds that using antihistamines alongside a decongestant like Afrin is helpful, but says Afrin can only be used for three days.

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