Although this disease is usually benign, "it is extremely distressing for parents". Bronchiolitis is characterized by a cough, breathing difficulties and wheezing in the chest. It affects 30% of babies under 2 years of age each winter, or 480,000 cases per year according to official estimates. Caused by a virus, it is particularly contagious.
It is necessary "to leave the idea according to which bronchiolitis = physio", explains the paediatrician Christophe Marguet, who took part in the drafting of the new recommendations.
A practice whose effectiveness has not been demonstrated, recalls the High Authority of Health (HAS) in its new recommendations for babies under 12 months published Thursday, November 14.
These recommendations "do not mean that the role of physiotherapists is diminished" , assures the president of the HAS, Dominique Le Guludec. " This role may change and become "a role of surveillance, monitoring", thanks in particular to the Bronchiolitis Networks - structures set up during the epidemic.
In general, the new recommendations base the management on "regular nose cleaning and monitoring of signs of aggravation". Nose cleaning is necessary for babies to breathe as they are unable to blow their nose on their own. To clear the snot, a saline spoon should be emptied into the nostril of the infant lying on its side. Easier said than done, but "there is a technique and it is important that health professionals teach it to parents", underlines Professor Druais, according to whom physiotherapists have their role to play in this training.