Good morning! Today, November 17th, is World Prematurity Day. With more than 13 million babies born early every year, including half a million here in the United States, I think it's an important topic to bring awareness too. While I have not personally had a premature baby, I can empathize with the parents struggling with such a difficult situation. The risks of premature birth for pregnant women are real, and this time of year it's important to be especially aware of the potential health risks for premature babies, including RSV.
Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is common but potentially dangerous for preemies. For a healthy, full-term baby it can appear as a common cold, but for a preemie it can become a severe respiratory infection because of their underdeveloped immune systems and lungs. We are currently in RSV season (November through March), so it's more important now that any other time during the year to be informed and proactive in taking preventative measures to stay healthy. It's not just about keeping your family healthy, but anyone you encounter in public that may have a preemie at home.
We've already been hit with two nasty colds in my home this season, so this is a bit of a reality check for my family already. Prevention is important!! And let me tell you, we're implementing plenty of preventative measures like frequent hand washing, and daily santizing of frequently touched areas in the home. Check out the prevention tips, information on symptoms, and infographic below for information on RSV and how to keep your little ones, especially your preemies, safe this RSV season!
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 www.rsvprotection.com and for more about the specialized health needs of preterm infants, visit www.preemievoices.com.
Disclosure: 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.