Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection is easy to catch (highly contagious). It is common
for children to develop 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.
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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, especially
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and diphtheria,
tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP). For more information, see the topic
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.3 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