This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Latina Bloggers Connect and MedImmune. All opinions are my own.
From now until March, parents of children under the age of 2 and premature babies have to be very careful with their little ones because it is RSV season. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common seasonal virus, contracted by nearly all children by the age of two. RSV typically causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms in healthy, full-term babies. My son caught RSV last March when he was just 4 months old and it was so bad that we had to rush him to the emergency room because he couldn't breathe.
|My beautiful boy the day he was born.|
Seeing first hand how hard RSV hit my son and how long recuperation took, I see why it is so important for parents of preemie babies to really be aware of RSV, and take steps to prevent it. 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. Here are some RSV facts that will help you understand it better.
Key RSV Facts:
- 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 400 infant deaths each year
- RSV disease is responsible for one of every 13 pediatrician visits and one of every 38 trips to the ER in children under the age of five
- Despite being so common, many parents aren’t aware of RSV; in fact, one-third of mothers have never heard of the virus.
November 17th is World Prematurity Day and there is no better time to educate ourselves and help raise awareness of RSV. As with all illnesses taking preventive steps is key.
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
• Steer clear of people who are sick or who have recently been sick
It's also extremely important to know the signs of RSV. With cold and cough season here, a lot of parents think their kids just have a regular cold and might not seek help soon enough. As with Julius, RSV can get very serious and it's important to see your child doctor if you see the following signs:
Persistent coughing or wheezing
Bluish color around 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]
Julius just got over the croup, which is another virus that cause breathing difficulties. But I am hoping this year he won't catch RSV again. I am going to be extra careful and follow the prevention steps. If you know anyone with young children or premature babies, help spread the word about RSV. With education and awareness we can save more premature babies and small children this RSV season. Get more preventive tips and info about RSV by visiting the RSV Protection site online.