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World Prematurity Day ~ What You Should Know About RSV
I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central forMedImmune. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
I have three children and all three were born early. The girls were both two weeks early and my son was six weeks early. He was definitely considered a preemie weighing in a 4 pounds. He spent the first two weeks of his life in the NICU. The hardest thing that I ever had to do was to leave (after being discharged) the hospital without my baby. It took us two hours to leave the parking lot for the first time. Neither my husband nor I wanted to leave.
When we finally did take our baby home, we felt as if he were so fragile that we felt like he might break. But he didn't and that picture above is him thriving at one year old. Look at the big baby head! He did grow into it.
World Prematurity Day is on November 17 and this is the perfect day to educate yourself more about RSV. We are intimately familiar with RSV as our family experienced it first hand.
Did you know that RSV is contracted by nearly all children by the age of two?
RSV is a common seasonal virus that many of us as parents aren't aware of and our son was also diagnosed with RSV in December. RSV occurs in epidemics each year, typically from November through March, though it can vary by geography and year-to-year so the timing was right.
The typical cause can be mild to moderate cold-like symptoms in healthy, full-term babies. For my son, it was much worse that that. He was close to being hospitalized but instead he was doing breathing treatments every few hours at one point.
What is even scarier is that 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 200 infant deaths each year. Fortunately for all of us, my son did very well in spite of RSV and recovered fully but it took a while. The lingering effects of RSV meant once a day breathing treatments for a year. He spent a lot of time with his breathing machine.
Did you also know that despite being so common, many parents aren’t aware of RSV? In fact, 1/3 of mothers have never heard of the virus.
WHY PREEMIES ARE AT HIGHER RISK OF RSV
While every baby is at risk of contracting RSV, babies born prematurely are at increased risk for developing severe RSV disease. In fact, preterm infants are twice as likely as full-‐term infants to be admitted to the hospital for RSV-‐related symptoms.
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 4°F [rectal] in infants under 3 months of age)
PROTECT YOUR 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
LEARN MORE ABOUT RSV
Visit the RSV Protection website for more information, including:
- Tips on talking to your pediatrician about your child’s risk factors
- Data about the RSV season in your area
- Check out this RSV Infographic