Disclaimer: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for MedImmune. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
As many of you know, we recently added a new member to our family. Because we have a newborn in the house, along with 7 other children, I am doing everything in my power to help keep the germs – and RSV – at bay.
Have you heard of RSV? I’m not surprised if you haven’t. In fact, as many as one third of all moms have never even heard of it!
I had my first experience with RSV when I was working in a daycare center. One of our babies in the Infant Room contracted RSV and ended up being hospitalized for several weeks because of it. I remember talking to the mom after her son returned to daycare. She had been so scared the entire time, and she felt so guilty. I made a promise to myself right then that I was going to learn all I could about RSV and how to prevent it from happening to any of my future children.
When Parker was born, there were many complications. The doctor forced me to wait until 37 weeks so he wouldn’t be considered a preemie, he was born very small and with several health concerns, much like a preemie. The doctor was very concerned that he might contract RSV, so we weren’t allowed to leave the house for the first 30 days of his life. That was tough, but combined with my own research and knowledge of RSV prevention, he made it through his first winter safely.
So, what is RSV?
RSV, (Respiratory Syncytial Virus), is a very common season virus that nearly all children contract before the age of 2. In healthy, full-term babies, it typically causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms. RSV is most common from November through March, but it can vary from year-to-year. In the US, it is the leading cause of babies being hospitalized during their first year.
Every baby is at risk of contracting RSV, but babies born prematurely are twice as likely as full term infants to be hospitalized because of RSV disease and/or symptoms.
If your infant exhibits any of these signs or symptoms, please call your pediatrician right away:
- Coughing or Wheezing that is persistent
- Bluish tinted color found around the mouth or fingernails
- Rapid or difficult breathing, or gasping for breath
- Fever (especially if the rectal temperature is over 100.4°F in infants under 3 months of age)
RSV is a very contagious disease and can be easily spread by touching, coughing, or sneezing. The virus can live on skin and surfaces for hours. There is no treatment for RSV once it has been contracted, so prevention is key.
Here are some tips to help you prevent the spread of RSV disease:
- Parents should wash their hands often and ask others to do the same. (This goes for siblings too – especially school-aged children!)
- Keep baby’s clothes, toys, sheets, blankets, and clothes clean.
- Avoid large crowds and other young children during RSV season.
- Don’t ever let anyone smoke near your baby.
- Keep baby away from people who are sick or have recently been sick.
Still want to learn more about RSV? There’s an easy way to do just that! Visit www.RSVprotection.com for lots more information. There, you’ll find out how to talk to your child’s pediatrician about their risk factors for contracting RSV, data about RSV and how it is affecting your area, and real stories about families that have experienced RSV.
I also want to make sure you are aware that this coming Monday is World Prematurity Day. It is a day set aside to raise awareness of preterm birth. According to Wikipedia, approximately 15 million babies are born preterm each year. That’s about 1 in 10 of all babies born worldwide. With this special day coming up, we also want to make sure that parents of preemies – and all parents are aware of the risks of RSV and how to prevent it.
Before I close, I want you to take a look at this easy to read infographic:
If you have an experience with RSV, I would love to hear about it. Please leave your comment below.