Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a seasonal virus. It can can infect the lungs, breathing passages and often causes common cold-like symptoms. Most children will get RSV by the age of 2, but in high-risk babies RSV can be very serious. Certain high-risk babies require special medication to help prevent RSV.
Download the respiratory syncytial virus information sheet.
Who's considered a high-risk baby?
- Infants who are born prematurely (at 35 weeks or less)
- Babies with lung issues
- Babies with heart issues
Talk to your health care provider to find out if your baby is at high risk for RSV disease.
Signs and symptoms
RSV usually causes the same symptoms as a bad cold such as:
- coughing or wheezing;
- a stuffy or runny nose;
- mild sore throat;
- fast or troubled breathing; and
Babies with RSV may also have no energy, act fussily or are less hungry than usual.
Prevent the spread
You can help prevent the spread of RSV by:
- washing your hands thoroughly before touching your baby;
- ensuring your child gets all of their vaccines – diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP), haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), and pneumococcal vaccines are especially important);
- cleaning and disinfecting surfaces because RSV can live on surfaces for hours;
- not letting anyone smoke in your home or near your baby (second-hand smoke irritates the mucous membranes in your child's nose, sinuses and lungs, making them more susceptible to infections); and
- avoiding close contact with sick people.
SYNAGIS (palivizumab) is used for the treatment of RSV.
What is SYNAGIS?
SYNAGIS is prescription medication. It contains a dose of virus-fighting antibodies. These help protect babies from serious lung infections that RSV causes. These infections can include pneumonia. The medicine works by preventing growth of the virus.
If your child gets an RSV infection, continue to give them the medication. This will prevent more serious infection.
How is SYNAGIS administered?
SYNAGIS is an injection, usually in the thigh muscle. Your child should receive the injection each month during RSV season. RSV season in the Yukon starts in November and runs through April.
What are possible side effects?
Possible side effects of SYNAGIS include:
- injection site reactions (pain, redness or swelling); and
- the rare possibility of severe allergic reactions.
Seek medical attention right away if your child has any signs or symptoms of a serious allergic reaction.