What are the symptoms of bronchiolitis?

If your child has bronchiolitis, their initial symptoms may include:

  • noisy or irregular breathing
  • feeding less and vomiting after feeding
  • fever (a temperature of 38.5°C or higher)
  • runny or blocked nose
  • a cough.

Take your child to see a doctor if you are concerned, or if your child has the symptoms above and any of the following symptoms:

  • wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • fast breathing
  • taking in less than half the normal amount of food for two or more feeds
  • 12 hours or longer without wetting their nappy.

OR if:

  • your child’s symptoms get worse very quickly
  • your baby is younger than 12 weeks
  • your child has another medical condition such as a heart or lung condition present from birth (congenital condition).

Seek emergency medical treatment if your child:

  • has severe difficulty breathing or is exhausted from trying to breathe
  • is pale and sweaty or their skin begins to turn blue around the lips or fingernails
  • is breathing very fast
  • is having difficulty feeding
  • can’t be woken up or does not stay awake after being woken.

This may mean that your child is not getting enough oxygen and needs immediate medical attention.

How long will the symptoms of bronchiolitis last?

Usually the symptoms of bronchiolitis get worse for up to 3 days before starting to improve. The symptoms usually last up to 2 weeks, and for some children may last up to 4 weeks.

Call your doctor or seek emergency medical attention if you notice your child is having difficulty breathing or their symptoms are getting worse.

Find out more about the causes, diagnosis and treatment of bronchilitis, and how to manage the symptoms of bronchiolitis.