Protect Your Little One from RSV
From the moment you find out you are pregnant, you suddenly put the safety and well-being of your baby above all else. This feeling of protection increases as you approach the end of a pregnancy, anxiously awaiting the arrival of your new baby. With a mixture of excitement and increasing discomfort, by the third trimester you ofter hear women say something like, “I’m so ready for this baby to come out!” All joking aside, pre-term births are all too common and often leave these vulnerable babies at an increased risk of serious medical complications.
Babies born prior to 37 weeks may have underdeveloped organs and immature immune systems, leaving them especially prone to infections from seemingly harmless viruses like the common cold, the flu or RSV. RSV (also known as Respiratory Syncytial Virus) is a seasonal virus that can have relatively minor symptoms in many babies, but can develop into a serious infection in high-risk babies like preemies. Moms at high risk for delivering a baby pre-term and Moms who have already delivered a preemie should be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms of respiratory illnesses that could be dangerous to their babies.
November 17th marks World Prematurity Day, a day dedicated to help raise awareness about prematurity and the potential risks associated with pre-term birth. Did you know that worldwide, 13 million babies are born early every year, including more than half a million in the United States? Despite these staggering numbers, many parents still aren’t aware of prematurity—the leading cause of neonatal death.
I was really surprised by the results of a recent survey on prematurity awareness that found that 3 in 10 mothers of preemies weren’t aware of the possibility of prematurity until they had their first child. And 75% of parents don’t know the definition of prematurity– being born at or before 37 weeks gestation age. Given this low awareness, it is clear many parents don’t fully understand the increased risks that come with premature birth – and the specialized health care that preemies often require. Here are some facts about RSV:
RSV Quick Facts
– RSV is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, and severe RSV disease causes up to 10 times as many infant deaths each year as the flu.
– RSV is most prevalent during the winter months. The CDC has defined the “RSV season” as beginning in November and lasting through March for most parts of North America.
– In addition to prematurity, common risk factors include low birth weight, certain lung or heart diseases, a family history of asthma and frequent contact with other children.
Prevention is Key
RSV is very contagious and can be spread easily through touching, sneezing and coughing. Since there’s no treatment for RSV, parents should take the following preventive steps to help protect their child:
– Wash hands, toys, bedding, and play areas frequently
– Ensure you, your family, and any visitors in your home wash their hands or use hand sanitizer
– Avoid large crowds and people who are or have been sick
– Never let anyone smoke near your baby
– Speak with your child’s doctor if he or she may be at high risk for RSV, as a preventive therapy maybe available
Know the Symptoms
Contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits one or more of the following:
– Severe coughing, wheezing or rapid gasping breaths
– Blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails
– High fever and extreme fatigue
To learn more about RSV, visit www.rsvprotection.com and for more about the specialized health needs of preterm infants, visit www.preemievoices.com.
I wrote this review while participating in a campaign for MomCentral Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.