How to Prevent RSV in Infants

How to Prevent RSV in Infants

Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, sounds scary, but it’s actually a pretty routine virus that most children have before age 2. Still, if your baby is premature or immunocompromised, then RSV could be more serious, and you’ll want to do all you can to protect them.[1] X Trustworthy Source Mayo Clinic Educational website from one of the world's leading hospitals Go to source Luckily, preventing RSV isn’t that hard. Some careful hygiene and cleaning can kill the virus and protect your baby from getting infected.

Method 1 of 3:
Germ-Removal

1
Wash your hands and your baby’s hands regularly. This is a simple habit, but it can help keep you and your baby healthy. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends scrubbing your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds to kill the RSV virus. Wash your baby’s hands too, since infants touch their faces and put their hands in their mouths a lot and could get themselves sick if their hands are dirty. [2] X Research source It’s especially important to wash your hands after you’ve touched your eyes, nose, or mouth. You could spread germs to your baby this way. This is also a good habit to prevent lots of other germs from spreading, not just RSV. You could also use hand sanitizer that’s at least 60% alcohol if you’re not near a sink to wash your hands.[3] X Trustworthy Source Cleveland Clinic Educational website from one of the world's leading hospitals Go to source
2
Ask other people to wash their hands before holding your baby. Anyone can spread the RSV virus or other germs accidentally, so don’t let any friends or relatives hold or play with your baby without washing their hands first. Then they’re free to hold your baby all they want. [4] X Trustworthy Source National Health Service (UK) Public healthcare system of the UK Go to source If you’re out with your baby or visiting people, bring hand sanitizer with you. Then everyone can clean their hands easily before holding your baby. If anyone seems sick, don’t let them near your baby, even if they wash their hands.
3
Cover your nose and mouth whenever you cough or sneeze. Even if you’re feeling fine, coughing and sneezing around your baby could get them sick. Always cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or shoulder, or use a tissue and throw it out right after. [5] X Trustworthy Source Cleveland Clinic Educational website from one of the world's leading hospitals Go to source Don’t sneeze into your hands! This just sprays germs onto them. Use disposable tissues instead of a handkerchief to cover your mouth. Handkerchiefs just trap and spread germs.
4
Disinfect your baby’s toys and anything else they touch. The RSV virus can live on surfaces, just like any other virus. This means that if your baby puts any toys in their mouth or touches their face after playing with a dirty toy, they could get sick. Use antibacterial wipes or disinfectant spray to clean your child’s toys regularly to protect them from germs. [6] X Trustworthy Source Mayo Clinic Educational website from one of the world's leading hospitals Go to source This is especially important if your baby had a playdate and another child touched their toys. RSV can spread between children easily.
5
Avoid sharing cups or utensils with people so you don’t get sick. This is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick, which helps keep your baby healthy too. Make sure your only use your own cups and utensils so you don’t pick up any germs from anyone else. [7] X Trustworthy Source Mayo Clinic Educational website from one of the world's leading hospitals Go to source If you’re having a big gathering, it helps to label everyone’s cups. This way, no one mixes theirs up.
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Method 2 of 3:
Healthy Environments

1
Keep your baby away from anyone who is sick. Any sick people could spread RSV germs to your baby. [8] X Research source Before visiting anyone or having company, check with everyone and make sure they’re feeling well. If not, reschedule for another time. It might be a letdown to cancel your plans, but it’ll help keep your baby safe. If you do have to be around others, make sure they all cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough and stay away from your baby. This is especially important for playdates with other kids. Children touch the same toys and spread germs easily, so don’t have any dates with sick babies.
2
Stay away from large crowds in the winter as much as possible. Germs and viruses spread easily in large crowds, especially in the winter when it’s already cold and flu season. Do your best to keep your baby out of crowds in the winter so they don’t pick up germs from others. [9] X Research source If you do have to go out, be sure to wash your hands and your baby’s hands as soon as possible afterward.
3
Don’t allow any smoke in your home. Cigarette smoke causes lung irritation, which makes children more susceptible to RSV. If you smoke or anyone in your home smokes, be sure to do it outside so your baby doesn’t breathe in any of the smoke. [10] X Trustworthy Source National Health Service (UK) Public healthcare system of the UK Go to source Don’t let any of your guests smoke in your home either. It’s tough, but it’s best to quit smoking altogether if you have children.
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Method 3 of 3:
Medical Treatments

1
Visit the doctor if your baby seems sick. When your child is an infant, any illnesses should be looked at. This is important for catching anything before it gets serious, like RSV. Make an appointment for your baby any time they seem sick just to be safe. [11] X Research source The main RSV symptoms include a runny nose, cough, fever, lack of appetite, and crankiness. Serious symptoms include signs that your baby is having trouble breathing or their lips and fingers are turning blue. Get medical help right away if this happens.
2
Get your baby monthly Synagis injections if they’re at risk for RSV. Synagis is a drug that gives your babies antibodies for RSV and can help prevent the disease. This is given in monthly shots during the winter. If your baby is premature or immunocompromised, then your doctor may recommend these injections to help protect them. [12] X Trustworthy Source Mayo Clinic Educational website from one of the world's leading hospitals Go to source This is generally only used for babies born earlier than 29 weeks. If your baby was born after 29 weeks, even if they were still premature, you probably don’t need this medication. Insurance usually only covers this treatment if your baby is considered high-risk for RSV.
3
Give your baby plenty of fluids and rest if they get sick. You might be very worried if your baby does catch RSV, but stay calm! This is usually a harmless virus that passes on its own. The most important thing to do is give your baby plenty of fluids so they don’t get dehydrated. With fluids and rest, your baby should recover without any problems. [13] X Research source If your baby doesn’t feel like drinking, try offering small amounts at a time. You could also use a cool-mist humidifier to make the air easier to breathe. Be sure to keep your doctor updated and follow any additional instructions they give you.
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Method 1 of 3:
Germ-Removal

1
Wash your hands and your baby’s hands regularly. This is a simple habit, but it can help keep you and your baby healthy. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends scrubbing your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds to kill the RSV virus. Wash your baby’s hands too, since infants touch their faces and put their hands in their mouths a lot and could get themselves sick if their hands are dirty. [2] X Research source It’s especially important to wash your hands after you’ve touched your eyes, nose, or mouth. You could spread germs to your baby this way. This is also a good habit to prevent lots of other germs from spreading, not just RSV. You could also use hand sanitizer that’s at least 60% alcohol if you’re not near a sink to wash your hands.[3] X Trustworthy Source Cleveland Clinic Educational website from one of the world's leading hospitals Go to source
2
Ask other people to wash their hands before holding your baby. Anyone can spread the RSV virus or other germs accidentally, so don’t let any friends or relatives hold or play with your baby without washing their hands first. Then they’re free to hold your baby all they want. [4] X Trustworthy Source National Health Service (UK) Public healthcare system of the UK Go to source If you’re out with your baby or visiting people, bring hand sanitizer with you. Then everyone can clean their hands easily before holding your baby. If anyone seems sick, don’t let them near your baby, even if they wash their hands.
3
Cover your nose and mouth whenever you cough or sneeze. Even if you’re feeling fine, coughing and sneezing around your baby could get them sick. Always cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or shoulder, or use a tissue and throw it out right after. [5] X Trustworthy Source Cleveland Clinic Educational website from one of the world's leading hospitals Go to source Don’t sneeze into your hands! This just sprays germs onto them. Use disposable tissues instead of a handkerchief to cover your mouth. Handkerchiefs just trap and spread germs.
4
Disinfect your baby’s toys and anything else they touch. The RSV virus can live on surfaces, just like any other virus. This means that if your baby puts any toys in their mouth or touches their face after playing with a dirty toy, they could get sick. Use antibacterial wipes or disinfectant spray to clean your child’s toys regularly to protect them from germs. [6] X Trustworthy Source Mayo Clinic Educational website from one of the world's leading hospitals Go to source This is especially important if your baby had a playdate and another child touched their toys. RSV can spread between children easily.
5
Avoid sharing cups or utensils with people so you don’t get sick. This is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick, which helps keep your baby healthy too. Make sure your only use your own cups and utensils so you don’t pick up any germs from anyone else. [7] X Trustworthy Source Mayo Clinic Educational website from one of the world's leading hospitals Go to source If you’re having a big gathering, it helps to label everyone’s cups. This way, no one mixes theirs up.
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Method 2 of 3:
Healthy Environments

1
Keep your baby away from anyone who is sick. Any sick people could spread RSV germs to your baby. [8] X Research source Before visiting anyone or having company, check with everyone and make sure they’re feeling well. If not, reschedule for another time. It might be a letdown to cancel your plans, but it’ll help keep your baby safe. If you do have to be around others, make sure they all cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough and stay away from your baby. This is especially important for playdates with other kids. Children touch the same toys and spread germs easily, so don’t have any dates with sick babies.
2
Stay away from large crowds in the winter as much as possible. Germs and viruses spread easily in large crowds, especially in the winter when it’s already cold and flu season. Do your best to keep your baby out of crowds in the winter so they don’t pick up germs from others. [9] X Research source If you do have to go out, be sure to wash your hands and your baby’s hands as soon as possible afterward.
3
Don’t allow any smoke in your home. Cigarette smoke causes lung irritation, which makes children more susceptible to RSV. If you smoke or anyone in your home smokes, be sure to do it outside so your baby doesn’t breathe in any of the smoke. [10] X Trustworthy Source National Health Service (UK) Public healthcare system of the UK Go to source Don’t let any of your guests smoke in your home either. It’s tough, but it’s best to quit smoking altogether if you have children.
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Method 3 of 3:
Medical Treatments

1
Visit the doctor if your baby seems sick. When your child is an infant, any illnesses should be looked at. This is important for catching anything before it gets serious, like RSV. Make an appointment for your baby any time they seem sick just to be safe. [11] X Research source The main RSV symptoms include a runny nose, cough, fever, lack of appetite, and crankiness. Serious symptoms include signs that your baby is having trouble breathing or their lips and fingers are turning blue. Get medical help right away if this happens.
2
Get your baby monthly Synagis injections if they’re at risk for RSV. Synagis is a drug that gives your babies antibodies for RSV and can help prevent the disease. This is given in monthly shots during the winter. If your baby is premature or immunocompromised, then your doctor may recommend these injections to help protect them. [12] X Trustworthy Source Mayo Clinic Educational website from one of the world's leading hospitals Go to source This is generally only used for babies born earlier than 29 weeks. If your baby was born after 29 weeks, even if they were still premature, you probably don’t need this medication. Insurance usually only covers this treatment if your baby is considered high-risk for RSV.
3
Give your baby plenty of fluids and rest if they get sick. You might be very worried if your baby does catch RSV, but stay calm! This is usually a harmless virus that passes on its own. The most important thing to do is give your baby plenty of fluids so they don’t get dehydrated. With fluids and rest, your baby should recover without any problems. [13] X Research source If your baby doesn’t feel like drinking, try offering small amounts at a time. You could also use a cool-mist humidifier to make the air easier to breathe. Be sure to keep your doctor updated and follow any additional instructions they give you.
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