Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a common, and very contagious, virus that infects the respiratory tract of most children before their second birthday.
For most babies and young children, the infection causes nothing more than a cold. But for a small percentage, infection with RSV can lead to serious problems such as bronchiolitis, which is inflammation of the small airways of the lungs, or pneumonia, which can become life-threatening.
There are some steps you can take to try to avoid and prevent RSV:
- Wash your hands often, especially after contact with anyone who has cold symptoms.
- Clean and disinfect hard surfaces.
- Only let people touch your baby after they wash their hands.
- Avoid kissing your baby if you have cold symptoms.
- Keep your baby away from crowds.
- Don’t let anyone smoke around your baby.
- Limit the time high-risk babies and young children stay in day care, particularly from late fall to early spring when RSV is most common.
- If possible, keep your baby away from anyone, including older brothers or sisters, who has cold symptoms.