Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection is easy to catch (highly contagious). It is common
for children to get viral infections such as RSV if they are often exposed
to infected people and have not built up immunity. There is no sure way to
prevent respiratory illnesses in babies and children.
medicines are used to help
prevent RSV infection in
babies and children who are at risk for complications
from RSV. Even if RSV infection develops, use of these medicines may result in
a less severe infection.
Recommended Related to Lung Disease/Respiratory Problems
The following may help
reduce your child's risk of respiratory problems:
Wash your hands frequently, and teach your children to
do the same. Also, make sure people who care for your child wash their hands
and understand the importance of this habit in preventing the spread of
See that your child gets all of his or her vaccines. Diphtheria,
tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP), Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), and pneumococcal vaccines are especially important.
Breast-feed your baby for at least the first 6 months after
birth, if possible. Breast milk seems to offer some protection against RSV
infection, but more study is needed.2 Breast milk does
not prevent RSV infection.
Separate a child diagnosed with RSV from others in the home as
much as possible.
If you smoke, quit. If you cannot quit, do not smoke in the
house or car. Secondhand smoke irritates the mucous membranes in your child's
nose, sinuses, and lungs, making him or her more
susceptible to infections.
Outbreaks of RSV often occur between late fall and early
spring. To keep from catching the virus during this time,
limit your exposure to RSV. This is most critical for babies and children who
are at risk for serious RSV infections. Try to
Sharing items such as cups, glasses, and utensils with
Child care centers, malls, movie theaters, and other places where many people are in an enclosed area.
Visiting children who are in the hospital.
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
June 25, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this