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Most children with bronchiolitis have mild symptoms and recover within two to three weeks, but it's important to look out for signs of more serious problems, such as breathing difficulties.
Early symptoms of bronchiolitis tend to appear within a few days of becoming infected. They're usually similar to those of a common cold, such as a blocked or runny nose, a cough and a slightly high temperature (fever).
The symptoms usually get worse during the next few days, before gradually improving. During this time, your child may develop some of the following symptoms:
Most cases of bronchiolitis aren't serious, but the symptoms can be very worrying.
Symptoms are usually at their worst between day three and day five. The cough usually gets better within three weeks.
If your child only has mild cold-like symptoms and is recovering well, there's usually no need to seek medical advice. You can usually care for your child at home (see treating bronchiolitis for more information).
Contact your GP if you're worried about your child, or if they develop any of the following symptoms:
It's particularly important to seek medical advice if your baby is under 12 weeks old, or they have an underlying health condition, such as a congenital (present from birth) heart or lung condition.
While it's unusual for children to need hospital treatment for bronchiolitis, the symptoms can get worse very quickly.
Call 999 and ask for an ambulance if: