This past year, two of my friends have given birth to a premature baby. It brings me back to when my little girl was born, though only shy a couple of days, she came into this world as a preemie baby too.
When Andrea was first born at the end of Summer, it was a scary time. I wanted to put her into a little bubble and protect her from germs, but reality is that didn’t happen. Holidays came around, family wanted to come see and hold the baby, I brought her shopping with me and it was just a matter of time before she came down with a cold or virus.
And she did. Andrea had RSV as a baby and while it wasn’t bad enough to send her into the hospital, it was an event I don’t care to relive.
This is why today, World Prematurity Day, I’d like to share some tips to help protect premature babies from the leading cause of hospitalization, RSV.
Even though RSV is a common virus, many parents aren’t aware of it. I wasn’t aware of RSV until after we experienced it.
Shocking fact : There are approximately 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 200 infant deaths each year from RSV, yet one-third of mothers have never heard of the virus!
This is why it’s so important to share our experiences, help educate new and seasoned moms. Without our voice, these numbers could be a lot higher.
What is RSV?
RSV is a common seasonal virus that typically occurs in epidemics during the months of November – March, though the dates can vary by geography and year-to-year. While RSV can appear with mild to moderate cold-like symptoms in healthy, full-term babies, babies born prematurely are at an increased risk of being admitted into the hospital for RSV-related symptoms.
Symptoms to Look For
I know it’s hard to not worry when your new baby is showing signs of a cold. Though most cold viruses are harmless and just need to run their course, there are a few symptoms that you should contact the pediatrician for:
• 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)
RSV is very contagious and can be spread through coughing, sneezing and touching. Since there is no cure for the RSV virus itself, prevention is important to help minimize the spread of this disease.
Please don’t keep your baby and family in a bubble this winter, but keep these things in mind.
- Hand washing – Wash your hands often and ask your visitors to do the same
- Keep toys, clothes, blankets and sheets clean
- Avoid large crowds when you can, if you can’t avoid it then limit the touching, use a blanket over your baby carrier or even better, wear your baby to keep everyone from asking to hold your baby
- Never let anyone smoke around your baby
- Steer clear of people who are sick or who have been recently sick.
Visit www.RSVprotection.com for more information, including:
• Tips on talking to your pediatrician about your child’s risk factors
• Data about the RSV season in your area
• Real stories of families’ experiences with RSV