Monday, November 21, 2011

RSV Protection and Preemie Awareness

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Have you ever had a premature baby or a baby with RSV?  It's a scary ordeal to go through!  My son was born at 6 1/2 months, he weighted 2 lbs and 13 oz.  The first week in the hospital he lost 7 oz, leaving him only weighing 2 lbs and 6 oz.  My son Cameron was in the hospital for 5 1/2 weeks.  I remember he was on oxygen for about 24 hours.  He would quit breathing up to 25 times a day and start turning blue.  Premature babies forget to breath and so you need to tickle their feet or something, to get them to remember to breath.  I am happy to say, he is a healthy 29 year old.

RSV Disease

On November 17th it is World Prematurity Day!  Did you know that 1,400 babies are still born prematurely in the United States every day and that 13 million babies are affected by prematurity around the world?  A baby is considered a preemie if they are born before 37 weeks.  Some of the body's most critical organs are not fully developed.  Preemies often have difficulty with breathing, feeding and maintaining temperature.  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.

Here's an interesting fact, nearly every baby contracts respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) by age two.  In most full-term babies, symptoms are similar to those of the common cold and parents may not even know their child has the virus.  However, because they don’t have the antibodies needed to fight off infection, preterm infants—even those born just a few weeks early—are at increased risk for developing an RSV-related infection, often requiring medical attention or hospitalization.  So, please speak with your pediatrician to find out if your baby is at high risk for developing severe RSV disease, and how you can prevent against RSV this winter.

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 the 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

To learn more about RSV, visit  For more about the specialized health needs of preterm infants, visit

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. The opinions expressed are my own and were NOT influenced in any way.

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