Keep your child healthy during respiratory season

October 28, 2022

As we head toward winter, Alberta Health Services (AHS) is reminding parents of ways to help protect their children from Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and other respiratory illnesses.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus is one of the most common viral infections of childhood, especially during the colder months. While not considered a risk to the general public, almost all children will have an RSV infection by the time they are two years of age.

For many kids, RSV symptoms look like a common cold. But for others, including young babies or children with lung diseases or weakened immune systems, symptoms can be more severe and lead to bronchiolitis, or pneumonia.

Similar to other respiratory viruses such as influenza, RSV is spread by direct or close contact with contaminated secretions such as saliva, nasal mucus, or phlegm.  It can also be transmitted by contact with surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus such as doorknobs, tabletops, and toys.

While there is no vaccine for RSV, there are steps and precautions to help keep your children safe and healthy and help them avoid RSV and other common respiratory viruses such as influenza and COVID-19 that are circulating in our communities.

For influenza and COVID-19, immunization is an important step in protecting yourself and those around you. Information on booking an appointment for yourself or your children can be found in the Alberta Vaccine Booking System.

Families are also encouraged to visit the HEAL (Health Education and Learning) website for reliable information about common minor illness in children. Information on influenza, croup, coughs, common colds, ear pain, nosebleeds, head injuries, vomiting and diarrhea, fever, febrile seizures, and rashes is available on the site -including a detailed description of the illness, symptoms, treatment, and when to seek immediate medical attention.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.