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.
I can hardly believe it’s been nearly year since Baby D was born. I remember being so worried about about Flu and RSV season (YES, both have their own season.) My first son was 6 months old during RSV season (November – March) and 6 of his baby friends were diagnosed with RSV. One of them even ended up in the hospital. Thankfully everyone recovered. I remember sitting in the doctors office and having our pediatrician tell us that he had spent the day diagnosing RSV cases. I can only imagine how worries those parents were!
Given that November 17th is World Prematurity Day I wanted to take a moment to discuss RSV since preterm infants are often the ones who are considered high risk for developing RSV. If you are a parent to a child 0-2 please take a moment to familiarize yourself with RSV, facts, symptoms, and tips to help avoid getting sick this season.
What is 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.
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.
Know the 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
Know the Symptoms:
If your infant is exhibiting any of the following symptoms please see your doctor right away.
- 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 Prevent My Baby From Getting Sick?
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
If you have any questions about RSV please ask your pediatrician.
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