DESCRIPTIONBronchiectasis is a lung disease in which the bronchial tubes become blocked and accumulate thick secretions. Frequent secondary infections occur. It is not contagious unless associated with tuberculosis. The lungs and bronchial tubes are involved.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care after diagnosis.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
Surgery to remove isolated areas of damaged lung tissue.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
Frequent coughing with bad-smelling, green or yellow sputum (sometimes flecked with blood); repeated lung infections; shortness of breath; general ill feeling; frequent fatigue; anemia (frequently).
Damage to the small bronchial tubes, which may develop over years. Common sources of damage include repeated infections; chronic bronchitis; allergies; smoke or dust; inhalation of a foreign object; tuberculosis; fungus infection.
Poor nutrition; repeated pneumonia; family history of tuberculosis; obesity; smoking; fatigue or overwork; exposure to allergens; cold, humid weather.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCE
Obtain medical treatment for your child's lung infections.
Have the child avoid as many risks for infection as possible.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
X-rays of the lung, including a bronchogram (See Glossary).
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSCOPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease); repeated pneumonia; destruction of lung tissue.
With treatment, most patients with bronchiectasis can lead nearly normal lives without major disability.
Encourage your child not to smoke.
Learn and practice postural drainage (See Glossary) on your child twice a day.
Have the child sleep with 3- to 5-inch blocks under the foot of the bed to prevent mucus from collecting in the lower lobes of the lungs.
If your child goes to school (or works) around heavy air pollution, do everything possible to limit exposure--including changing schools (or jobs).
Install air conditioning with a filter and humidity control in your home.
The child should avoid sudden temperature changes.
Encourage your child to avoid loud talking, loud laughing, crying, exertion, or sudden temperature changes, if these trigger coughing episodes.
Keep your child's teeth and mouth in excellent condition.
If your child has an allergic background, avoid allergens.
MEDICATIONAntibiotics for 10 days every month if bacterial infections have caused your child's bronchiectasis or triggered episodes of pneumonia or acute bronchitis.
Bronchodilators to enlarge airways.
Expectorants to loosen secretions.
Your doctor may prescribe:
The child should remain as active as possible.
DIET & FLUIDS
Encourage your child to drink a minimum of 8 glasses of fluid a day. This thins lung secretions so they can be coughed out more easily.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?When signs of infection have decreased, appetite returns, and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of bronchiectasis.
After diagnosis, there are symptoms of a respiratory infection or bronchitis.
Temperature rises to 101F (38.3C).
Blood appears in the sputum, sputum thickens despite treatment, or postural drainage reveals a change in color, amount, or character of sputum.
Chest pain increases.
Shortness of breath occurs without coughing or when at rest.