“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for MedImmune. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.”
As much as I love the cooler weather, the one thing I don’t love is how often we seem to get sick during the winter. Every since Fall arrived either Abby or myself or both of us has been sick. I’m always really cautious with Abby, I pay very close attention to her cough and her breathing because I know all too well just how quickly a simple cough can turn into something much more serious and dangerous for her. Seeing several friends post on Facebook over the weekend about how sick their little ones were made me remember just how important it is as moms to be well informed so we can take care of our little ones.
Fall marks the beginning of cold and flu season and it’s a time when we need to take extra precaution to protect our babies and toddlers and most of all, our preemies. Premature babies are especially vulnerable to germs and illnesses and I want to do my part to help inform other moms so they can keep their precious little ones protected as best they can.
Have you ever heard of RSV? When Abby was born, I was pretty clueless to it but I quickly learned the dangers the hard way. RSV, Respiratory syncytial virus, is a common and contagious seasonal virus and occurs annually in epidemics throughout the fall and spring seasons. In healthy, full term babies, RSV can cause mild to moderate cold-like symptoms. However, for infants born at or before 37 weeks, RSV proves a great risk due to their undeveloped lungs and immature immune systems. While contracted by nearly all children by the age of two, RSV poses a serious threat to premature babies. We experienced RSV with Abby when she was around nine months old, that was such a scary time. Her case wasn’t too severe and we were lucky; although I didn’t know much about RSV, I did know that with her wheezing so severely something serious was wrong. We had her seen and she was okay to come home. I have a friend whose little one was a tiny little premie and unfortunately, they weren’t so lucky. Her daughter ended up in NICU for several weeks and it was heartbreaking to see her like that, to hear the fear in her moms voice when they weren’t sure she would be okay. I wish I had known more about RSV back then so I could have helped her know more about it.
Learn the Symptoms of Severe RSV Disease:
Contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits one or more of the following:
- Persistent coughing or wheezing
- Bluish color around the mouth or fingernails
- Rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths
- Fever [especially if it is over 100.4°F (rectal) in infants under 3 months of age]
Key RSV Facts:
- RSV occurs in epidemics each year, typically from November through March, though it can vary by geography and year-to-year
- RSV disease is the leading cause of hospitalization for babies during their first year of life in the United States, with approximately 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 400 infant deaths each year
- RSV disease is responsible for one of every 13 pediatrician visits and one of every 38 trips to the ER in children under the age of five
- Despite being so common, many parents aren’t aware of RSV; in fact, one-third of mothers have never heard of the virus
RSV: A Risk to Preemies
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common seasonal virus, contracted by nearly all children by the age of two, and typically causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms in healthy, full-term babies. Preterm infants, however, are born with undeveloped lungs and immature immune systems that put them at heightened risk for developing severe RSV disease, often requiring hospitalization.
- RSV infection is more likely to root in premature lungs where developing airways are narrowed and especially fragile
- Preterm babies carry fewer virus-fighting antibodies—a precious gift from mom that all infants need while their own immune systems mature after birth
How Can I Help Protect My Baby From RSV?
RSV is very contagious and can be spread easily through touching, sneezing and coughing. Additionally, the virus can live on the skin and surfaces for hours. There is no treatment for RSV disease once it’s contracted, so prevention is critical. To help minimize the spread of RSV disease, all parents should:
- Wash their hands and ask others to do the same
- Keep toys, clothes, blanket and sheets clean
- Avoid crowds and other young children during RSV season
- Never let anyone smoke around your baby
- Steer clear of people who are sick or who have recently been sick
Speak to your child’s pediatrician to determine if your baby is at high risk for RSV disease, and if so, what additional steps may be recommended. For more information about RSV and prevention, visit www.RSVprotection.com. Please also use the hash tag #RSVawareness when tweeting.
I am so glad I was given the opportunity from Mom Central Consulting and MedImmune to help spread the word about RSV and help provide information to others to help keep babies healthy!
November 17th is World Prematurity Day, let’s help spread the word as much as we can about the importance of taking extra precautions to protect little preemies; frequently wash and sanitize hands, avoid large crowds and avoid those who are sick. Each little precaution helps!