#RSVawareness – World Prematurity Day is November 17th #MC
World Prematurity Day is coming up soon – November 17th. Do you know anyone who had had preemies? My aunt has and although I was pretty young for the birth of each of her children – I distinctly remember how tiny her second child was in my already tiny hands. Thankfully he survived and medicine 35 years ago was nothing like it is today – but he still survived. If I remember correctly he was around 2 pounds – which is completely amazing.
RSV is particularly difficult for those very small babies whose lungs are not fully developed. 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
Have you heard of RSV? (more information at RSVProtection.com)
RSV is a virus that infects the lungs:
- RSV or respiratory syncytial [sin-sish-uhl] virus is a contagious viral disease that may infect a person’s lungs and breathing passages
- Most children will catch RSV by the age of 2 years
- RSV spreads rapidly among children. While most will recover in 1 to 2 weeks, even after recovery, infants and children can continue to spread the virus for 1 to 3 weeks
- RSV is present year-round but typically goes up in the fall, then peaks in the winter and goes down in early spring. But, the exact timing of RSV season varies by location
Most people recover from the disease in a week or two, but in premature infants or those with lung or heart problems, severe RSV disease can lead to serious lung infection and hospitalization.
To my knowledge I do not know if my kids ever suffered from RSV. The reason is my oldest two are my stepsons so they were toddlers when I met them and the next two were adopted older than infant age. However, given what I know now about RSV I have to wonder if it was part of my youngest child’s struggles. She is also adopted but we got her directly from birth. And she had respiratory struggles within weeks and we continued to struggle with her wheezing, choking, coughing, fevers etc… for a very long time. We were constantly at the doctors or the emergency room. I truly wish I knew then what I know now. She is quite healthy now though – phew.
- How Can I Help Protect My Baby From RSV?
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