It is a viral infection of the lower respiratory tract which affects children under the age of two (more common in children under the age of 6 months). It tends to occur between November and April.

The virus that most commonly causes it is the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).



After 3-4 days of cold-like symptoms (cough, mucus), respiratory distress occurs (fast breathing, the ribs are visible when breathing, the abdomen moves a lot….).They may have a fever.

Warning signs

  • More difficulty breathing, or faster breathing, the ribs are visible, the abdomen moves a lot, the chest sinks and they stop breathing for a few seconds.
  • They eat very little, become tired with feeds and vomit.
  • Episodes of cessation of breathing or of poor colour (purple, pale…).
  • Poor general condition, with a tendency to sleep, irritable.



  • Nasal irrigation with physiological saline solution and gentle suction of the nasal mucus, so that they can breathe better (only if they have mucus; do this preferably before eating).
  • Keep them in a semi-sitting position (raise the headboard of the cot placing a folded towel under the mattress).
  • Give them their usual diet in small and frequent feeds.
  • Give them liquids (water, feeding bottles, breastfeeding) in small and frequent feeds to keep them well hydrated.
  • Don't wrap them up too much. Room temperature around 20ºC.
  • Calm environment.
  • No nursery.
  • No exposure to smoke (from tobacco or from another type).


  • Some children may need hospital treatment (oxygen, aerosols with hypertonic saline solution, bronchodilators…).
  • After suffering from bronchiolitis, some children will present similar episodes (cough, respiratory distress).
  • Paediatrics