What can I do to prevent bronchiolitis?
Practise good hygiene and avoiding people with infections
We should all do what we can to prevent the spread of illnesses, by:
- keeping away from other people (adults and other children) who have a cough or a cold – this is common sense, but not always possible
- making sure you, your family and anyone who handles your baby washes their hands regularly - you should also regularly wash your child’s hands
- wiping down surfaces and toys, and wash and dry eating utensils after use
- covering your child’s mouth and nose if they cough or sneeze. Use a tissue and throw it away as soon as it’s been used.
Practising good hygiene is an important way of reducing viral infections, like bronchiolitis. During the COVID-19 pandemic, cases of bronchiolitis and other viral infections (including RSV) decreased dramatically. This was partly due to preventative measures like lockdowns and social distancing, as well as increased public awareness of the importance of good hygiene and wearing of masks.
Do not smoke, or let others smoke, around your baby. It makes your baby more likely to pick up an infection and to make their symptoms worse. Read more about how passive smoking and vaping affects your child’s lungs.
Consider special immunisations if your child is in a very high-risk group
Short term immunisation may be available for a very small number of infants at high risk of developing severe bronchiolitis. There are clear guidelines on who is eligible, and those who qualify will be offered a series of injections during the bronchiolitis season. Ask your doctor or nurse for more information if you think your child might fall into this group.
Can bronchiolitis come back?
Yes. It’s possible for your child to get bronchiolitis more than once, even multiple times in a season. You can reduce the risk by taking the steps outlined above.
Additional resources you might find useful
Bliss– Bliss is the leading charity for babies born premature or sick. Their website has information, support and stories shared by people with experience of bronchiolitis and neonatal care.
NICU, SCBU and you – a podcast hosted by Bliss. It provides information and support for parents, guardians and families experiencing neonatal care.
National Childbirth Trust (NCT) – NCT is the UK’s leading charity for parents. They have information and support for parents, aimed at babies and toddlers up to 24 months.