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Did you know that World Prematurity Day is on November 17th. I didn’t even know there was such a day. I am glad there is. There is a lot to learn about when it comes to having a preemie. There bodies are so tiny and their immune system is almost nonexistent. So you have to be extra on top of things to protect their little bodies from getting sick. Did you know that 82% of U.S. children from ages six weeks to six years old spend some time in child care? Can you imagine all the sickness that gets spread?
One of the scariest sickness is RSV. Which is respiratory syncytial virus.This is the scariest sickness and the reason is that there is no treatment. That’s why it’s so important that you need to be extra careful and one of the ways to do that is be prepared and do your research to know what to watch for and how to prevent it. My son spent his first week of life in the NICU because of fluid in his lungs. The nurses informed me that he was at a high risk to catch RSV and that I needed to be extra careful. At that time I lived in North Dakota and he was born in January. We didn’t leave the house unless we had to. I was scared and wanted to do everything in my power to protect him from RSV. So back then I did a lot of research on RSV so I can be well-informed and know what to do. I can stress enough the importance on doing your own research. Knowledge is power. One great site I found on RSV is RSV Protection.
RSV: A Risk to Preemies:
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.
• RSV infection is more likely to root in premature lungs where developing airways are narrowed and especially fragile
• Preterm babies carry fewer virus-fighting antibodies—a precious gift from mom that all infants need while their own immune systems mature after birth
Key RSV Facts:
• RSV occurs in epidemics each year, typically from November through March, though it can vary by geography and year-to-year
• RSV disease is the leading cause of hospitalization for babies during their first year of life in the United States, with approximately 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 400 infant deaths each year
• RSV disease is responsible for one of every 13 pediatrician visits and one of every 38 trips to the ER in children under the age of five
• Despite being so common, many parents aren’t aware of RSV; in fact, one-third of mothers have never heard of the virus
Learn the Symptoms of Severe RSV Disease:
Contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits one or more of the following:
• 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]
How Can I Help Protect My Baby From RSV?
RSV is very contagious and can be spread easily through touching, sneezing and coughing. Additionally, the virus can live on the skin and surfaces for hours. There is no treatment for RSV disease once it’s contracted, so prevention is critical. To help minimize the spread of RSV disease, all parents should:
• Wash their hands and ask others to do the same
• Keep toys, clothes, blanket and sheets clean
• Avoid crowds and other young children during RSV season
• Never let anyone smoke around your baby
• Steer clear of people who are sick or who have recently been sick
I can’t say enough how important knowledge is. Do you research. Ask your doctor questions. The more you know the better prepared you are to protect your little one! The site I mentioned above is perfect for finding more information about RSV. Lastly I leave you with one of my favorite phrases….Knowledge is Power!!