Today is World Prematurity Day and to mark this day I’m sharing some tips for parents to protect their babies against RSV or Respiratory Syncytial Virus. RSV awareness is a topic close to my heart. My son contracted RSV at 2 weeks old. While he was not a premie, in fact he was overdue, I saw first hand how horrible RSV can be on a little infant. We spent almost a week in the hospital as my little guy struggled to breathe and get better. Thankfully he recovered but not without that horrible time forever etched in my mind. It’s a horrible feeling watching helplessly as your 2 week old baby struggles to breathe. I can only imagine how much more difficult the situation would have been had he been premature as well.
My son was born in the middle of Winter, so I did everything I could to make sure he stayed healthy. I limited visitors, no one would touch him without first washing their hands, anyone who may have been sick or exposed to anyone sick, I kept away but none of it mattered. I took him to his 2 week checkup and while we were supposed to be the first appointment of the day, the doctor left us in the waiting area with an office of sick kids, instead of moving us right back into a room. Within days, he started experiencing typical cold symptoms and that quickly progressed to difficulty breathing. As soon as I called the pediatrician he told us to get to the hospital right away. With Baby E, I’m taking no chances. Since we are right in the middle of RSV season, I’m not taking her out if I don’t have to, visitors are kept to a minimum and only if they haven’t been sick. Having experienced RSV once, I’m doing everything I can to protect the baby.
- 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.
- 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 200 infant deaths each year.
- Despite being so common, many parents aren’t aware of RSV; in fact, one-third of mothers have never heard of the virus
- Persistent cough 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)
- Wash their hands and ask others to do the dame
- Keep toys, clothes, blankets 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