Being pregnant and due in the winter, the idea of RSV is incredibly scary to me. In fact, just a couple days after #2 was born (full term), we had an RSV scare which involved a lot of painful tests and x-rays. Fortunately, she didn’t have RSV.
Today, November 17 is World Prematurity Day. Did you know that more than half a million American babies are born prematurely every year? Most of the time, the parents of these preterm infants are totally unprepared for the additional medical attention they require. And according to a March of Dimes survey this is because parents don’t discuss the possibility of premature birth when talking to their doctors.
On November 17 – World Prematurity Day – we’re hoping to help change this. 13 million babies are affected by prematurity around the world. Prematurity, defined as being born before 37 weeks completed gestation. At birth, preemies often have difficulty with breathing, feeding and maintaining temperature. Because their immune systems haven’t had time to fully mature, preterm infants are more likely to develop infections, and because their lungs are underdeveloped, they are more susceptible to respiratory problems.
One of these possible respiratory problems is respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and nearly every baby contracts it by age two. Most full-term babies only have symptoms similar to those of the common cold. However, preemies don’t have the antibodies needed to fight off infection and are at an increased risk for developing an RSV-related infection. Often RSV in preemies requires medical attention or hospitalization.
RSV Quick Facts:
- RSV is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, responsible for more than 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 500 infant deaths each year.
- RSV occurs in epidemics each fall through spring. The CDC has defined “RSV season” as beginning in November and lasting through March for most parts of North America.
- Certain regions have longer RSV seasons than others, with the season beginning as early as July (e.g., Florida) or ending in April.
- Despite its prevalence, one-third of mothers have never heard of RSV.
Prevention is Key: There is no treatment for RSV, so it’s important for parents to 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 may be sick
- Never let anyone smoke near your baby
- Speak with your child’s doctor if you believe he or she may be at high risk for RSV, as a preventive therapy may be available
Be Aware of Symptoms: Contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits one or more of the following:
- Persistent coughing or wheezing
- Rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths
- Blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails
- High fever
- Extreme fatigue
- Difficulty feeding
Learn more about RSV protection and for more about the specialized health needs of preterm infants, visit www.preemievoices.com
I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.