Preventing bronchiolitis 

The virus that causes bronchiolitis is very common and easily spread, so it's impossible to completely prevent it.

However, following the steps below can reduce the likelihood of your child developing or spreading the infection. You should:

  • 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've been used
  • wash your hands and your child's 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 giving up 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). The injections may help to 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
  • born with a heart or lung condition
  • with an immune deficiency (a weakened immune system)

However, these injections can be expensive and aren't always available on the NHS. Speak to your GP if your child is at high risk.

Page last reviewed: 10/09/2015

Next review due: 01/09/2018