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Diagnosis and management of bronchiolitis in children

Bronchiolitis is the commonest acute lower respiratory tract infection in infants. This article considers the implications, treatment options and referral pathways in general practice.

Bronchiolitis is a clinical diagnosis defined as a seasonal viral illness characterised by fever, nasal discharge and a dry wheezy cough. On examination there are fine inspiratory crackles with or without high pitched expiratory wheeze.1 There are variations in accepted definitions, and in North America the definition of bronchiolitis is broadened to include all children up to the age of two years who present with a wheezing illness associated with an upper respiratory tract infection (URTI). This definition includes children who in the UK would be considered to have viral induced wheeze, which has a different natural history and treatment


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