Note: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central forMedImmune. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
My kids are 7, 5, and 2 now but I can remember when they were each born like it was yesterday. I remember how tiny and fragile they seemed, and I definitely remember being incredibly cautious with them and germs the first few months of their lives.
RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) is a really common virus that occurs in epidemics each year, usually between November & March. Nearly all children contract it by the time they reach age 2 – I know all three of my children have had it! For babies that are healthy and full-term it can just cause moderate cold-like symptoms, which of course moms will still worry over.
RSV is the top cause of hospitalization for babies from birth to age 1 in the United States. About 125,000 babies are hospitalized with RSV each year, and sadly up to 200 infant deaths. While every baby is at risk of contracting RSV, babies born prematurely have a much higher risk – they’re twice as likely as full-term infants to be admitted to the hospital for RSV-related symptoms.
One of my really good friends had premature twins in October several years ago, and I know they had to be extra-careful to keep their babies germ-free. My smallest baby was 6 pounds, 10 ounces, but seeing my friend’s preemies made me realize how much more fragile they are, and how important it is to protect them from diseases like RSV. World Prematurity Day is coming up on November 17, so this is especially on my mind right now.
Despite RSV being such a common disease, and potentially a scary one for preemies, one-third of mothers have never heard of the virus. I’m really glad to be able to help promote awareness and help other moms! Here are symptoms of severe RSV that you should keep an eye out for. If your child exhibits one or more of the following symptoms, be sure and contact your child’s pediatrician immediately:
- Persistent coughing or wheezing
- Bluish color around the mouth or fingernails
- Rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths
- Fever (especially if it is over 100.4 degrees F [rectal] in infants under 3 months of age)
Of course, preventative care is especially important too. There’s no way to avoid germs completely, and RSV is very contagious. It can spread very easily through touching, sneezing and coughing, and it can live on the skin and surfaces for hours. Here are some important things you can do to help minimize the spread of RSV:
- Wash your hands and ask others to do the same (I kept hand sanitizer around for people to use along with washing their hands, just to be extra careful)
- Keep toys, clothes, blankets & 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 – even if they said it was just allergies, I liked to be cautious and still ask them to wait until they’re better before having contact with my babies.
My biggest tip? Don’t worry about what other people think of your caution. I would much rather feel silly for being over-cautious than end up with a severely sick child. And I’d rather hurt someone’s feelings by making them wait to hold my child. You’re your child’s best protector against RSV!
Find out more about RSV at RSVprotection.com, like tips on talking to your pediatrician about your child’s risk factors, data on the RSV season in your area, and real stories of families’ experiences with RSV. And check out this infographic below for more helpful facts: