Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Lung Disease & Respiratory Health Center

Font Size

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Infection - Prevention

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.

Sometimes 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

Cystic Fibrosis

Important It is possible that the main title of the report Cystic Fibrosis is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Read the Cystic Fibrosis article > >

Monoclonal antibodies, such as palivizumab (Synagis), may be used to help prevent or reduce the severity of RSV infection.

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 infection.
  • 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 avoid:

  • Sharing items such as cups, glasses, and utensils with others.
  • People who have upper respiratory infections, such as colds.
  • Child care centers, malls, movie theaters, and other places where many people are in an enclosed area.
  • Visiting children who are in the hospital.
1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: 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 information.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Living With Copd
VIDEO
Lung Disease Health Check
HEALTH CHECK
 
Cigarette butts in ashtray
Article
Household Hazards For People With Copd
Article
 

Bronchitis Overview
SLIDESHOW
Copd Myth Fact Quiz
QUIZ
 
Living With Copd
VIDEO
Energy Boosting Foods
SLIDESHOW
 

cigarette butts snuffed out in ashtray
SLIDESHOW
Healthy Home Health Check
TOOL
 
Senior woman stretching
Article
Diagnosing Copd
VIDEO
 

WebMD Special Sections