The virus that causes bronchiolitis is very common and easily spread, so it's impossible to completely prevent it.
But you can reduce the likelihood of your child developing or spreading the infection by:
- covering your child's nose and mouth when they cough or sneeze
- using disposable tissues rather than handkerchiefs, and throwing them away as soon as they have been used
- washing your hands and your child's hands frequently, particularly after touching their nose or mouth or after feeding
- asking anyone who comes into contact with your child, such as a relative or nanny, to wash their hands first
- washing and drying eating utensils after use
- washing or wiping toys and surfaces regularly
- keeping infected children at home until their symptoms have improved
- keeping newborn babies away from people with colds or flu, particularly during the first 2 months of life or if they were born prematurely (before week 37 of pregnancy)
Children who inhale smoke passively are at increased risk of developing bronchiolitis.
Do not smoke around your child and do not let other people smoke around them.
Read about giving up smoking.
Preventing bronchiolitis in high-risk children
Children with a high risk of developing severe bronchiolitis may be able to have monthly antibody injections during the winter (November to March).
Children considered to be at high risk include those:
- born very prematurely
- born with a heart or lung condition
- with an immune deficiency (weakened immune system)
The injections may help limit the severity of bronchiolitis if your child becomes infected. But they can be expensive and are not always available on the NHS.
Speak to your GP if you think your child has an increased risk of developing severe bronchiolitis.
Page last reviewed: 6 August 2018
Next review due: 6 August 2021