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As with all winter illnesses, washing hands is key.

As always happens in the winter months, the RSV virus has returned and is spreading among babies and young children. To help avoid a trip to the emergency department of the nearest hospital, it's better to take action to prevent severe developments like bronchiolitis now.

This acute respiratory infection, which generally comes from a virus, emerges every year between October and April, and is a frequent cause of hospital admissions of young children, especially under age 1. It is particularly serious for babies under 6 months.

The infection generally begins as an ordinary cold with a fever, a runny nose and a dry cough, and then breathing difficulties can occur, mainly during meal times. Symptoms of bronchiolitis include difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing fits and problems feeding.

The virus is highly contagious and can be transmitted by sneezing, coughing and contact with the hands of a person with a cold or contaminated objects.

Key Preventative Steps

- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 30 seconds.

- Air your child's room daily for at least 15 minutes and maintain the temperature at 19°C as well as slightly humidifying the room if they start to develop a cold or cough.

- Don't swap feeding-bottles, lollipops or pacifiers and toys that have not been washed between children.

- Avoid contact with anyone with a cold and wear a mask if you have the flu.

- Avoid taking your baby on public transport, to shopping malls or crowded public places in winter.

- Don't put your child in a smoky environment.

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