COVID-19 Information

Seasonal RSV

Written By: Women and Infants on September 1, 2020


RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) is a common virus that can cause an infection of the lungs. In many children, RSV causes a cold and cough. However, premature babies and those with lung, heart or immunity problems are at risk of getting very sick with RSV. RSV occurs most often in the months from fall to spring, but the RSV season may vary by region.

It is easy to catch RSV. This is a very common virus and is spread by any physical contact – such as touching, kissing, and shaking hands – with an infected person. The germs are also spread through the air by sneezing or coughing. What's more, RSV can live for hours on a countertop or on a used tissue. The infection is very common in crowded living areas and day-care centers. That is why you must be careful to take steps to prevent your baby from being exposed to RSV.

To protect your child from RSV, your doctor has prescribed Synagis® (palivizumab). This is a shot that is given into the muscle. When given to your child, it increases his or her immunity to RSV. The immunity from one shot lasts about a month. It's important to keep your Synagis® (palivizumab) shot appointments throughout the RSV season, to keep your child protected.

Call your pediatrician right away if your child shows any of signs of a serious RSV infection:

  • Difficulty breathing.
  • High fever.
  • Bluish skin.

Protecting your Baby from RSV

There are a few simple things you can do to protect your child from RSV. First, keep your child away from others who have RSV. Also, keep all of your doctor and shot appointments. The time between shots needs to be just right. This assures that your child has the immunity he or she needs to protect them from RSV.

Learning about your baby's treatment is important. To find out more about RSV and its prevention, please visit:

Healthy Pointers

Make sure you and other people who are around your baby are very careful to avoid giving RSV to your baby. Follow these rules:

  • Require that everyone wash hands with warm water and soap before touching your baby.
  • Avoid being around your baby if you have a cold, fever, or runny nose. When necessary, it may be helpful to wear a mask.
  • Stay away from crowded areas like shopping malls and community events.
  • Kissing your baby can spread RSV infection if you have the virus. If you have any symptoms of illness, hug your baby gently, or stroke your baby's head instead.
  • Try to keep other young children away from your baby.
  • Do not smoke around your baby. Exposure to cigarette smoke increases the risk of RSV.
  • If you are breastfeeding, continue as long as is possible (at least one year).

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