November 17th is Preemie Awareness Day, and we here at Beautifully BellaFaith (and various other blogs) are spreading the word about RSV, especially concerning preemies. RSV, short for respiratory syncytial virus, is a virus that affects the lungs. RSV can affect children and adults, but can be fatal in preemies and infants. RSV season varies from different parts of the country, however – it is usually in full force in the fall months and continues throughout spring.
Did you know that most children will catch RSV by the time they reach two years of age? While my daughter hasn’t caught the virus, quite a few of her little friends have. I asked my friends if they would share their story in a sentence or two, and they were happy to let me use their words in my post, as they desire for ALL parents (and soon-to-be parents) to become aware of RSV.
One sent me a short paragraph concerning RSV and her son (who was born just two weeks before Isabella, but was full-term), “My son was technically full term, but got RSV when he was around 7 months old. This eventually led to bronchiolitis. He couldn’t breathe without intense struggle and had to have multiple daily breathing treatments. He hated them because they hurt, and he screamed through all of it, every time. Neither of us slept much at all, for like 4 or 5 weeks.”
Another friend of mine noted, “My daughter had RSV last Christmas, but she wasn’t a preemie. She got it when she was around 6-7 months old. It was horrible. We took a trip to the local children’s hospital, and she had to have breathing treatments.”
My friend, who just gave birth approximately three months ago, remarked with, “I know for parents with preemies that the risk of getting RSV is a big concern. I have to get my son a specific shot and really watch who he’s around and what he’s around. I can’t really have sick people around him.”
Know the signs of RSV
- Coughing that doesn’t stop
- Gasping for breath
- Bluish color around mouth and fingernails (also called cyanosis)
- Rapid, troubled breathing
- Fever (This is especially dangerous if the infant is under 3 months of age and has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or greater)
- Flared nostrils and/or caved-in chest
While RSV cannot be treated once caught, there are steps you can do to aide in the prevention of RSV.
- Wash hands thoroughly! When others come over to your home to see you and the new baby, ask them kindly to wash their hands beforehand.
- Make your home a smoke-free environment, and refrain from exposing your baby to smoke-filled environments.
- Be sure to wash your baby’s clothes, toys and bedding often.
- Keep your baby away from crowds, young children and people with colds
- Don’t share cups or utensils with anyone
- Cover coughs and sneezes
While in most babies, the symptoms are like a mild to moderate cold, in some – RSV can be extremely dangerous. Preemies and babies born with heart conditions are especially susceptible to the serious effects of RSV. RSV is VERY easy to catch, as it can be transmitted via sneezing, coughing, touching, shaking hands and even kissing.
To learn about RSV Awareness, visit RSVProtection.com. There, you can discover how to bring the subject of RSV up with your doctor, as well as read personal stories and find out when the RSV season is in your part of the country.
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.