While there is not yet a vaccine for RSV, there are steps you can take to help prevent your baby from getting an RSV infection.
How can I help reduce my child's risk of getting an RSV infection or other respiratory problems?
- Frequent hand washing is very important. Additionally, teach your children to get in the habit of washing their hands too. Doing so may help prevent the spread of infection.
- Make sure that your child receives all of his or her vaccines.
- If possible, breast-feed your baby for the first 6 months after birth.
- Try to separate a child diagnosed with RSV from others in the home as much as possible.
- Do not smoke anywhere near your child, whether 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 an infection.
- Wipe down surfaces (such as countertops, toys, door knobs, etc.) with soap and hot water.4
Limiting exposure to the virus during “cough and cold season” is also especially important for babies and children who are at risk for serious RSV infections. When possible, parents should help their child avoid:
- Sharing items such as cups, glasses, and utensils with others.
- People with upper respiratory infections, such as colds.
- Child-care centers, malls, movie theaters, and other congested places where many people are in an enclosed area.
- Visiting children who are in the hospital.
3Blue Shield of California, Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection, (accessed 9/4/2008)
4Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Respiratory Syncytial Virus web page, (accessed 9/4/2008)