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Baby Joshua's bronchiolitis story

In most cases bronchiolitis is not a severe illness however some babies will need hospital care.  These are the stories of parents whose children have had severe cases of bronchiolitis.  They have chosen to share their story to help other parents understand more about bronchiolitis and how serious it can sometimes be.

Kirsty has twins, a little boy called Joshua and a girl named Tallulah who were born at 35 weeks. When they were eight weeks old, Joshua contracted bronchiolitis (October 2012). While he became very poorly, Tallulah remained completely well.

When Joshua first became ill, Kirsty took him to the GP who said that he had a chest infection and gave him a course of antibiotics. However, these didn't help and Kirsty had to make daily trips to the doctor as she was very worried about Joshua as he appeared to be getting consistently worse every day. After a fortnight he remained unwell and at this point, Joshua was referred to a paediatrician at the local hospital. The paediatrician tested him for RSV, which came back positive, and told Kirsty that he had bronchiolitis. Joshua was then admitted to hospital, where he stayed overnight. Kirsty was taught how to use inhalers with him, and he had his oxygen levels monitored. After Joshua was discharged, he remained ill throughout the rest of the winter with a constant wheeze.

Before Joshua was diagnosed, Kirsty had never heard of RSV or bronchiolitis, and when she was told that this was what was wrong with Joshua, she had to look it up on the Internet to find out what it was. To this day, Kirsty has never been given any information from a healthcare professional on RSV or bronchiolitis, other than a couple of basic facts she was told when Joshua was first diagnosed. To find out information, she looks online, but this scares her as she reads about worst case scenarios. She had also not been told that RSV and bronchiolitis were two separate things. Kirsty feels very frustrated that she did not even know this.

In October 2013, Joshua became ill with bronchiolitis again and had to spend two days in hospital. Despite recovering from this, he went back into hospital in November 2013 for a whole week. Kirsty now knows what to look out for and how to identify the symptoms of bronchiolitis. One of her other sons, Harry who is aged four, had bronchiolitis recently and Kirsty immediately sent him to stay with his Grandma, as she was worried that Joshua might become ill again. From her reading, she knew that it can be contagious and she wanted to protect Joshua. She checked this with her GP, who told her that it wasn't particularly contagious, and she didn't need to send Harry away. However, since Joshua has been so unwell with bronchiolitis, Kirsty thought it would be best if Harry and Joshua were not staying together.

With three other children, every time Joshua is ill Kirsty has do her best to carry on with her regular routine, as otherwise there would be a huge impact on her family. When Joshua had to spend a week in hospital, her partner took this time off work to look after the other children. This had a huge impact on their income that month.

Kirsty wishes that instead of the GP assuming that Joshua had a chest infection, they had looked at all of the options and tested him for infections like RSV. She thinks that if this had happened, he may not have spent two weeks getting worse and worse. Joshua now gets ill very easily, and has a chronic wheeze. 

In most cases bronchiolitis is not a severe illness.  This is a story of a parent whose child has had a severe case of bronchiolitis.  They have chosen to share their story to help other parents understand more about bronchiolitis and how serious it can sometimes be.


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