As temperatures drop look out for the signs of some common winter viruses in toddlers and babies

2 mins read

Monday 4 December 2023

Children and babies with certain health conditions can be more susceptible to common seasonal viral and bacterial infections and their body may struggle to fight off the illness. So as the party season starts and we’re mixing more with others, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of common winter viruses.

To help, we have lots of information about RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and Strep A – two of the most common and contagious causes of coughs and colds in winter.

We also have information on your getting the flu and Covid vaccines for your child.

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and bronchiolitis

RSV may cause a cough or cold in children and adults, but in young children it is the main cause of bronchiolitis. In fact, it’s the most common cause of bronchiolitis in children under two. 

Most cases of bronchiolitis are mild, and children recover without treatment within two to three weeks. Some children are more vulnerable to the virus and breathing problems, so it is important to look out for more serious problems.

Find out more about the signs and symptoms of RSV.

Strep A

Strep A (formally called Group A Streptococcus or iGAS) is a common type of bacteria often found on the skin or in the throat. The bacteria can cause many different infections. Some are mild, like ‘Strep throat’, and some are rarer but more serious, like invasive GAS infection (iGAS).

Find out more about the signs and symptoms of Strep A.


Flu is caused by a virus that can be a very unpleasant illness for children and lead to serious problems like bronchitis or pneumonia. Children also help to spread flu. The flu season starts in September and runs through the winter.

The flu vaccine is offered every year on the NHS to help prevent people from getting seriously ill from flu. Vaccinating your child protects them and others vulnerable to it. People with a learning disability are more likely to develop pneumonia if they get flu. 

Find out more about the flu vaccine, including who is eligible for a free flu vaccination.