Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for MedImmune. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.
In honor of World Prematurity Day on November 17th, I wanted to share about RSV.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common seasonal virus, contracted by nearly all children by the age of two, and typically causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms in healthy, full-term babies. Preterm infants, however, are born with undeveloped lungs and immature immune systems that put them at heightened risk for developing severe RSV disease, often requiring hospitalization.
All of my babies were born during RSV season which in Arizona is November through April. (You can check RSV season for your state by checking out rsvprotection.com.)
When Buggy was born (December) kids under age 12 were not allowed in the nursery wing at all in effort to reduce the risk of babies – especially premature babies – from contracting RSV. (Neither of my other two had restrictions even though they were born in April and February.)
Each year worldwide, 13 million babies are born prematurely, and more than one million preemies have died just this year from the serious health challenges they face. The current rate of prematurity in the United States is 12.2 percent—one of the highest rates of preterm birth in the world. Even more alarming is that the rates have risen by 36 percent over the last 25 years. Despite these overwhelming numbers, many parents still aren’t aware of the risks of being born too soon—the leading cause of neonatal death. In fact, a recent survey found that 75 percent of parents don’t know the definition of prematurity (birth at or before 37 weeks gestation), and during prenatal care, most pregnant women don’t ask their healthcare provider about the risk of delivering prematurely and the potential consequences of preterm birth for their child.
Last year alone, I had two friend give birth to a premature baby (both are fine now) and just a few weeks ago, a blogging friend of mine had her baby prematurely.
As preemies often have specialized health needs, it’s important to raise awareness of the increased risks that often come with premature birth. In the time leading up to November 17—World Prematurity Day—we’re hoping to educate all parents about the potential risks associated with preterm births, so parents of preemies are prepared to help protect these vulnerable babies. Since prematurity disrupts a baby’s development in the womb and often stunts the growth of their most critical organs, preemies are susceptible to a variety of illnesses and infections, especially during the winter months. As we head into November, it’s a perfect time to remind parents—especially parents of preemies—about one seasonal virus that poses a threat to infants.
Symptoms of RSV include persistent coughing or wheezing; bluish color around the mouth or fingernail; rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths; or fever (especially if over 100.4 degrees rectally in infants under 3 months old).
Additionally, there are ways to help avoid the spread of RSV.
Parents should wash their hands and ask others to do the same; keep toys, clothes, blankets and sheets clean; avoid crowds and other young children during RSV season (with the exception of siblings, but you may want to keep them separate if older siblings are sick); never let anyone smoke around your baby; and steer clear of people who are sick or who have recently been sick.