Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Protecting Your Baby From RSV Disease - #protectpreemies #rsv

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How to protect your baby from RSV Disease!  Did you know that RSV is a virus that infects the lungs?  Premature babies have lungs that are smaller and less developed at birth than those of full-term babies.  Premature birth interrupts the final stages of normal lung development.  For babies born early, RSV could lead to serious lung infections, like pneumonia and/or bronchiolitis (swelling of the lower airways).  As a mother, I know how important it is to protect your baby from any kinds of illness.

My son was born at 6½ 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 5½ 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 for the first 4½ weeks of his life.  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 30 year old. When I had my baby in 1982, I never heard of RSV and my son's lungs were under developed, so I can understand how parents are very protective of their new baby.  It's a very scary thing to have a premature baby or a baby with RSV.  I am a big believer in washing your hands very often, so please wash your hands if you will be caring for a infant or toddler! 

Preemie Awareness Day is November 17th

Did you know that worldwide, 13 million babies are born early every year, including more than half a million in the United States?  Despite these staggering numbers, many parents still aren’t aware of prematurity—the leading cause of neonatal death.

In fact, a recent survey on prematurity awareness found that 3 in 10 mothers of preemies weren’t aware of the possibility of prematurity until they had their first child.  75% of parents don’t know the definition of prematurity-- being born at or before 37 weeks gestation age.  Given this low awareness, it is clear many parents don’t fully understand the increased risks that come with premature birth – and the specialized health care that preemies often require.

Prematurity disrupts a baby’s development in the womb, often stunting the growth of some of the body’s most critical organs.  These babies are at an increased risk of serious medical complications and regularly face weeks or even months in the NICU.  This often contributes to mothers feeling powerless, anxious and isolated.  On November 17 – World Prematurity Day – They're hoping to educate all expecting parents about the possibility of and potential risks associated with preterm births.

Because their immune systems and lungs aren’t fully developed, preemies are more likely to develop infections and are more susceptible to respiratory problems.  In fact, 79 percent of preemie moms have a baby who was hospitalized due to a severe respiratory infection.  One virus in particular that parents of preemies should know about is respiratory syncytial virus, commonly known as RSV.  RSV is contracted by nearly all children by the age of two, often causing relatively minor symptoms that mimic the common cold.  However, preemies are most at risk for developing much more serious symptoms, including a serious respiratory infection (severe RSV disease) from the virus, because their lungs are underdeveloped and they don’t have the antibodies needed to fight off infection.

Below are a few quick facts that all parents should know about RSV:

RSV Quick Facts
  • RSV is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, and severe RSV disease causes up to 10 times as many infant deaths each year as the flu.
  • RSV is most prevalent during the winter months. The CDC has defined the “RSV season” as beginning in November and lasting through March for most parts of North America.
  • In addition to prematurity, common risk factors include low birth weight, certain lung or heart diseases, a family history of asthma and frequent contact with other children.

Prevention is Key

RSV is very contagious and can be spread easily through touching, sneezing and coughing. Since there’s no treatment for RSV, parents should 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 are or have been sick
  • Never let anyone smoke near your baby
  • Speak with your child’s doctor if he or she may be at high risk for RSV, as a preventive therapy may be available

Know the Symptoms

Contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits one or more of the following:
  • Severe coughing, wheezing or rapid gasping breaths
  • Blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails
  • High fever and extreme fatigue

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

I wrote this review while participating in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation. The opinions expressed are my own and were NOT influenced in any way.

Bonny Sallee

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