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Bronchiolitis - Preventing bronchiolitis

The viruses that cause bronchiolitis are very common and easily spread, so it's impossible to prevent the condition entirely.

However, the following steps can help you reduce the chances of your child developing or spreading the infection:

  • cover your child's nose and mouth when they cough or sneeze
  • use disposable tissues rather than handkerchiefs and throw them away as soon as they have been used
  • wash both your child's hands and your hands frequently, particularly after touching their nose or mouth or after feeding
  • ask anyone who comes into contact with your child, such as a relative or nanny, to wash their hands first
  • wash and dry eating utensils after use
  • wash or wipe toys and surfaces regularly
  • keep infected children at home until their symptoms have improved
  • keep newborn babies away from people with colds or flu, particularly during the first two months of life or if they were born prematurely (before week 37 of pregnancy)

Stop smoking

Children who inhale smoke passively are more at risk of developing bronchiolitis. If you smoke, avoid doing so around your child or consider stopping smoking.

Preventing bronchiolitis in high-risk children

It may be possible for a child with a high risk of developing severe bronchiolitis to have monthly antibody injections during the winter (November to March). These injections may help limit the severity of the condition if the child becomes infected.

Children who may be considered to be at high risk include:

  • those born very prematurely
  • those born with a heart or lung condition
  • those who have an immune deficiency (a weakened immune system)

However, these injections can be expensive and are not always available on the NHS. Speak to your GP for information and advice if your child is at high risk.


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