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Bronchiolitis Treatments: Is it OK to Use Albuterol for Bronchitis?


Bronchiolitis is the main cause of hospitalization in infants and young children. Sadly, there is no cure for bronchiolitis. Doctors mostly try to make the fever and trouble breathing go away. If a child needs to stay in the hospital, they might get extra air and water through a tube. In the past, doctors often used a medicine called albuterol for bronchitis to help children breathe better. Albuterol is a kind of medicine that helps relax the muscles in the breathing tubes. It can be taken as a breath spray, a drink, or a shot. Many people with lung problems like COPD and asthma also use albuterol.

What is Bronchiolitis?

Bronchiolitis often happens in kids under 2 years old. RSV is the germ that causes it, and it enlarges the tiny airways in the lungs. This can make kids wheeze and have trouble breathing. RSV can be bad for babies born too early and other little kids. If your child might get RSV, your doctor might talk to you about medicines like Synagis or Beyfortus to help protect them.

How does RSV cause Bronchiolitis?

When a child gets RSV, the virus goes into their nose and makes a lot of yucky stuff (mucus). This stuff can block the nose and make it hard to breathe. The virus also goes deep inside the lungs, into tiny air tubes called bronchioles.

When the bronchioles get infected, they get all swollen and block the air from going in and out. This can make the child make a wheezing sound and have trouble breathing. They might also breathe faster than usual. Breathing fast can make it tough for them to eat, and if it’s really bad and goes on for a long time, it can make them very tired, stop breathing for short moments (apnea), or even be very dangerous.

What is Albuterol?

Albuterol is a medication employed to manage or prevent bronchospasm in individuals dealing with conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and other lung ailments. Additionally, it serves to prevent physical activity-induced bronchospasm.

Albuterol falls under the category of medications known as adrenergic bronchodilators. These are drugs inhaled through the mouth to widen the bronchial tubes, which are the air passages in the lungs. They help alleviate coughing, wheezing, and breathing difficulties by increasing the airflow through these tubes.

Does Albuterol help Bronchitis?

Albuterol helps stop and treat wheezing, trouble breathing, a tight chest, and coughing caused by lung illnesses like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which are conditions that make it hard to breathe. Although it might make sense to use albuterol for severe bronchiolitis, the latest advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests not to do that now.

In their latest recommendations from 2014, the AAP recognized that albuterol could briefly help kids with bronchiolitis, kind of like it helps with asthma. However, it’s not clear how well it works in this situation.

A study from 2013 found that using albuterol in kids in the hospital didn’t make things better or make them leave the hospital faster. What’s more, the AAP says not to use other treatments that were often used before, like salty mist in a machine (nebulized hypertonic saline), strong steroids in the body (systemic corticosteroids), antibiotics, and chest exercises (chest physiotherapy).

Is Albuterol good for bronchitis?

Albuterol can’t treat bronchitis, as it is more common in the management of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Bronchitis is often due to viral or bacterial infections, leading to inflammation of the airways, coughing, and mucus production.

Albuterol is a bronchodilator, which means it helps relax the muscles in the airways, making it easier to breathe. While it can provide temporary relief from symptoms like wheezing and shortness of breath in some cases of bronchitis, it is not a standard or first-line treatment for the condition. Treatment for bronchitis usually focuses on addressing the underlying infection and managing symptoms with rest, hydration, and sometimes medications like cough suppressants or expectorants.

If you suspect you have bronchitis or are experiencing respiratory symptoms, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment recommendations. They will determine the most suitable approach based on the specific nature of your bronchitis.

What to Do If Your Child Has Bronchiolitis?

Regrettably, there isn’t a magical cure for bronchiolitis, and it’s important to note that antibiotics won’t do the trick either. Bronchiolitis is due to a virus, and antibiotics are effective only against bacterial infections.

When it comes to treating RSV, the focus is on easing the symptoms and providing supportive care while the body combats the virus and heals itself. Keeping the baby’s nose clear of mucus using saline and suction can make a significant difference in helping them breathe better.
For managing fever and discomfort, you can use acetaminophen and, if the baby is over 6 months old, ibuprofen. In some cases, additional support like extra oxygen or IV fluids may be necessary. It’s worth mentioning that other health issues can cause wheezing in babies, so it’s essential not to try diagnosing bronchiolitis at home. If your child is wheezing or experiencing breathing difficulties, always consult your doctor for guidance.

Determine the Proper Bronchiolitis Treatment Before Using Albuterol for Bronchitis

If your child is showing symptoms of bronchiolitis or any respiratory distress, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice and guidance from your healthcare provider. Remember that bronchiolitis is primarily due to viruses, and antibiotics won’t help. While there is no cure for bronchiolitis, supportive care, like keeping the baby’s nose clear, managing fever and discomfort, and ensuring adequate hydration, can make a significant difference in their recovery. Always consult with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.


  • Jamielyn Davis

    Jamielyn is a pop culture aficionado with a deep passion for Kpop and Jpop. With her finger on the pulse of the entertainment industry, she keeps up with the latest trends and developments. Whether you need insights on music, fashion, or the hottest celebrity gossip, Jamielyn is your trusted source for all things hip.