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Which babies are at risk of bronchiolitis?

Who is most at risk?

Around 30,000 infants are admitted to hospital in England each year with bronchiolitis, it is the most common reason for infant hospitalisation.  While bronchiolitis symptoms are usually mild and only last for a few days, some babies are at higher risk of developing severe bronchiolitis.  Your baby is at greater risk if he or she was born prematurely (babies born at less than 37 weeks), if your baby was born with a heart or lung condition or has another immunodeficiency condition.  In some cases, babies with a high risk of developing severe bronchiolitis may be offered an immunisation, your paediatrician or neonatologist can give you further information and advice.

Premature babies

Premature babies are more at risk because they have less mature immune systems and their lungs and airways are not fully developed, making them more susceptive to lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs).

Babies with heart, lung or other conditions

There are several factors which increase the risk of severe illness in children with bronchiolitis including having congenital heart disease, chronic lung disease, neuromuscular disorders and immunodeficiency. If you are concerned about your baby’s health please speak to your doctors. 

More Than a Cold supporters also provide further health information:



Bliss exists to ensure that every baby born premature or sick in the UK has the best chance of survival and quality of life. 

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British Lung Foundation

We’re the only UK charity looking after the nation’s lungs.  With your support, we’ll make sure that one day everyone breathes clean air with health lungs.

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Twins Trust 

Working to improve the lives of twins, triplets or more, and their families, through campaigning to improve health and developmental outcomes; funding clinical research; and by providing practical support for all families, including those in crisis.

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Northern Ireland's premature and vulnerable baby charity, dedicated to reducing premature birth, illness, disability and death in babies born here.

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Tiny Tickers

Helping improve the detection, care and treatment of babies with serious heart conditions.

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We're here to support parents. We give them accurate, impartial information so that they can decide what’s best for their family, and we introduce them to a network of local parents to gain practical and emotional support.

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