This is part of a sponsored collaboration with AstraZeneca and DiMe Media. However, all opinions expressed are my own.
As a parent one of the hardest things to do is watch your children suffer through illnesses. Something that to us as adults is not so serious, like a cold, can be extremely hard on an infant. We've all been there: sleepless nights as we check in on them and make sure they are breathing right, those trips to the E.R. because the baby is having a hard time breathing and all those nights no one could sleep because he cried all night as you held him.
Being a parent, especially a first time parent is very hard. In three short years I have been to the doctors office and emergency room more times with Julius than I ever did growing up. I was lucky that my pregnancy with him went to term and we didn't have the added worries of a premature birth, but he's always be incredibly prone to seasonal illnesses. Julius wasn't even 6 months old when we had to rush to the hospital with him because he was struggling to breathe after a few days with a terrible cold. That was when he was diagnosed with RSV, a seasonal virus that poses a threat to infants, especially those that were born prematurely.
RSV is a common, seasonal virus contracted by nearly 100 percent of infants by the age of 2. RSV occurs in epidemics, typically from November through March, but the “RSV season” can vary by geography and from year to year.
In many babies, the virus leads to a mild respiratory infection with symptoms similar to the common cold or flu, but in some it can develop into a much more serious infection. In fact, severe RSV disease:
- Is the leading cause of hospitalization for babies during their first year of life in the United States
- Causes approximately 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 200 infant deaths each year in the United States
- Results in up to 10 times as many infant deaths each year than the flu
- 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
Is your baby at risk of contracting RSV?
Every baby is at risk of contracting RSV, but babies born prematurely are at increased risk for developing severe RSV disease. Pre-term infants are twice as likely as full-term infants to be admitted to the hospital for RSV-related symptoms because they were not able to fully develop in their mother’s womb and are born with underdeveloped lungs. That puts them at increased risk of chronic lung problems and respiratory infections. Additionally, preterm infants do not receive the full amount of infection-fighting antibodies that are transferred in utero, so they are not as well-equipped to help fight off infections as full-term babies.
Wash your hands throughly before touching baby and ask others to do the same
Do not smoke in the home
Wash baby's clothes, toys and bedding often
Keep baby aways from crowds with young children and people with colds
Talk to your baby's doctor
Get informed about RSV by visiting https://www.rsvprotection.com