Kids Home > RSV Prevention

There is currently no RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) vaccine. However, two methods of preventing RSV include good infection control practices and Synagis. Good infection control practices include frequent handwashing and refraining from sharing eating utensils with people who have RSV illness. Synagis is a medication that is given as a monthly injection.

An Overview of RSV Prevention

At this point, there is no vaccine available to prevent RSV (respiratory syncytial virus). However, there are two ways to help prevent it: good infection control practices and Synagis®.
Good Infection Control Practices
Frequent handwashing and not sharing items, such as cups, glasses, and utensils, with people who have RSV illness should decrease the spread of the virus to others. Excluding children with colds or other respiratory illnesses (without fever), who are well enough to attend childcare or school settings, will probably not decrease the RSV transmission, since it is often spread in the early stages of illness.
In a hospital setting, RSV transmission can and should be avoided by strict attention to contact precautions, such as handwashing, and wearing gowns and gloves.
Palivizumab (Synagis) was licensed in 1998 for use in high-risk infants. Synagis is given as a monthly injection during the RSV season (November through April).
Infants at high risk for RSV include those with:


Infants who are born prematurely (35 weeks or earlier) are also at high risk for RSV.


No major side effects have been reported from using Synagis. People have reported minor problems including:
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Otitis media (middle ear infection)
  • Rash.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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