A common virus called respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is easily spread and leads to infections in kids every fall and winter. This virus can cause cold-like symptoms such as sneezing and fever.
Symptoms can be more serious in younger children, especially those less than 2 years of age and who were born prematurely, have congenital heart disease or chronic lung disease. These children are considered high-risk and may develop breathing problems and wheezing from RSV. This is called bronchiolitis, which can become severe enough that your child may need to be hospitalized.
Palivizumab (Synagis®) is a medicine given to high-risk children during the RSV season, which is usually November to April, to help reduce the risk of developing bronchiolitis. If your child is potentially at risk of developing complications from a serious RSV infection, they may need to receive this medicine. Palivizumab is given as a series of multiple injections in the child’s leg, approximately 1 month apart, throughout the RSV season. It's important that this medicine is given around the same time each month.
There are steps you can take to help prevent the spread of RSV in your home:
- Wash your hands before touching your child
- Make sure others wash their hands before touching your child
- Keep your child away from people who are sick or who have a cold
- Avoid crowded areas and daycare during the RSV season, if possible
- Do not smoke and make sure others do not smoke around your child
- Avoid travel during the RSV season, if possible
Talk to your doctor, pediatrician or nurse practitioner for more information about your child’s health and the Saskatchewan RSV Prophylaxis Program.