Home Remedies for Preventing Respiratory Syncytial Virus

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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The most effective home remedies for preventing respiratory syncytial virus include the use of plenty of fluids, yarrow, hyssop, saline drops. The treatment also includes behavioral remedies like sitting upright, maintaining cleanliness, eliminating dairy, tobacco, alcohol, and coffee, and frequent handwashing.

What is Respiratory Syncytial Virus?

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a virus that increases the susceptibility to respiratory infections and affects almost all children in the first 2-3 years of life. These respiratory infections can often be handled through supportive methods, just as a bad cold. However, a small percentage of infants and children infected by RSV will develop into bronchiolitis, which will require spending time in a hospital.

This infection can be caught more than once, as the antibody protection fades over time. Adults can also be infected by RSV, but most of the symptoms will manifest as a common cold or the flu, not the serious or potentially life-threatening condition this infection can represent for younger children. It can be very difficult to breathe when suffering from RSV, which is why this can be so dangerous for young children.


Unfortunately, there is no known “cure” or treatment for this virus, and supportive measures in hospitals (oxygen therapy etc.) should be complemented by lifestyle remedies and alternative treatments. There are a number of dietary and behavioral choices that can significantly protect against being infected in the first place. You should always see a doctor if you are worried that your child has been infected by RSV, but it is important to take advantage of these home remedies too!

Home Remedies for Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Here are some of the best home remedies for respiratory syncytial virus:

Eliminating Cigarette Smoke

For young children, ensure that they are not exposed to cigarette smoke, and for adults, if you want to avoid becoming infected by RSV, try to cut back on your smoking, as it compromises your immune system and the integrity of your lungs and throat.

Alcohol and Caffeine

In terms of dietary alterations, it is best to avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can inflame various parts of the body when used to excess, weaken the immune system, and compromise your metabolism. Since RSV makes your immune system vulnerable, and is not a direct illness in itself, protecting your immune system in any way is a wise choice for prevention.

Keep the Air Moist

For a child suffering from RSV, it is important to keep the air moist. While moistness is often associated with being a breeding ground for bacteria, respiratory infections can be very detrimental to the airways and respiratory tract. So, they need to be lubricated and function normally to help expel the virus, prevent irritation and pain, as well as ensure proper breathing and oxygen intake.

Pent  Fluids

You want to be sure that your child is drinking plenty of fluids, both to flush out the virus, and also to soothe the throat. Excessive coughing and sore throats commonly accompany respiratory infections, so it is advisable to make the child comfortable and reduce crying. This will put less strain on the already overworked chest and lungs, helping the body recover quicker.


Dairy products tend to accumulate and thicken phlegm, and if a child is already struggling to breathe, complicating that with milk-based products is not a good choice.


Keeping surfaces clean and washing your hands frequently are good preventative measures for catching RSV in the first place. When dealing with a child who is suffering from this infection, it is also an essential measure to take. Their immune system will be compromised by this infection, so any additional pathogens or dangerous substances you may have on your hands or around the home can further complicate the recovery process.

Ways to prevent respiratory syncytial virus - infographic


Hyssop is known to significantly reduce mucus and also acts as an expectorant, which will help to expel excess mucus and phlegm, thereby allowing healthier, normal breathing in young children.


This is an herbal remedy that has been shown to stimulate the respiratory system and increase circulation, which can help eliminate toxins and increase overall immune health. Before giving strong herbs to children, however, it is recommended that you speak with a medical professional.

Sitting Upright

Although this seems like common sense, sitting upright is a much better position than lying down if you want to keep your breathing clear. Mucus and phlegm can accumulate in the respiratory tracts when laying down, but with gravity working on your side, sitting upright can keep your breathing normal and even.

Word of Caution: Although almost every child will suffer through RSV at some point in their lives, it is not something that should be taken lightly. Respiratory infections can be very dangerous for children, and medical attention should always be sought. These herbal and home remedies are suggested in conjunction with medical care, particularly if the symptoms are severe, as they might require oxygen therapy to ensure safe treatment.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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