Baby Bronchiolitis awareness campaign for parents

Most Parents “Unaware” of Common Condition for Babies

Baby Bronchiolitis

UK’s first national bronchiolitis awareness campaign launched with parent-friendly website –

Most parents in England are generally unaware of a common condition which affects up to a third of all babies, according to a GfK NOP survey.1

The survey carried out by the global healthcare company, Abbott, to coincide with the UK’s first national bronchiolitis awareness campaign, explored parents’ knowledge of the condition.1

The condition has symptoms similar to a common cold but despite its prevalence, the survey revealed that just 5% of parents correctly identified that bronchiolitis affects one in three babies in the UK before their first birthday.1

Bronchiolitis is a seasonal condition which usually occurs in the winter months between October and March and is an inflammation of the tiny air passages deep inside the lungs which causes breathing difficulties.2 This is often confused with bronchitis, which affects the main airways in the lungs.3

The survey involved 1,001, 18-40 year old parents – 1 in 5 parents said their child has had bronchiolitis, and 50% of these said their child was admitted to hospital with it. Yet the survey showed that generally, parents fail to recognise all of the symptoms associated with severe bronchiolitis such as loss of appetite.1

In addition, over 90% of the parents surveyed are unaware of all the risk factors that contribute to a child catching viruses that cause bronchiolitis, such as washing toys and keeping away from other children.1

The campaign has the support of doctors, including Dr Su Laurent, a consultant paediatrician at Barnet andChaseFarmHospitals,London, who says: “Hospital wards up and down the country are inundated with babies suffering from bronchiolitis between October and March every year.

“In the majority of cases, this is not a severe condition. However, it is potentially far more serious in babies born prematurely or those with underlying heart or lung conditions who are more likely to develop severe bronchiolitis.”

Around 80% of bronchiolitis cases are caused by the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and every year, more than 20,000 children in the UKare admitted to hospital with an RSV infection.4 Despite this, the survey shows that only 26% of parents have heard of RSV.1

“With thousands of babies being admitted to hospital with bronchiolitis every year, it’s important that the British Lung Foundation (BLF) supports this campaign to help radically reduce the spread of infection. We believe work is needed to help parents understand more about bronchiolitis as evidence shows many know very little about the condition,” says Dame Helena Shovelton, Chief Executive, British Lung Foundation’

The awareness campaign is organised by Abbott and is being supported by a new website to give parents easily understandable information about the condition.  They can visit the website at

The Symptoms

Babies who may be developing more severe bronchiolitis typically exhibit four symptoms, the most significant of which is a distinctive rasping cough:

  • Fast breathing: shallow, quick breaths not taking in much air
  • Appetite: inability to feed
  • Cough: distinctive rasping cough
  • Temperature: high temperature will usually accompany cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose

The Bronchiolitis Awareness Campaign has been developed by Abbott in consultation with a number of healthcare professionals.


  1. GfK NOP online survey, 8-22 August 2011.
  2. (September 2011)
  3. (September 2011)
  4. Bush A, Thomson AH; Acute bronchiolitis.  BMJ 2007 Nov17;335 (7628):1037-41 (July 2011)
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