Did you wear your purple yesterday? Hayley and I did, and we were asked, “Why we were wearing matching purple shirts?” The reason is on November 17, the country celebrated World Prematurity Day. Many of us are under the belief that we will have these perfectly, beautiful infants born on time. According to the March of Dimes, many parents are not educated about the possible risk of delivering early babies. The statistics are staggering – over 1 in 8 babies in the United States are born prematurely. Worldwide, 13 million babies are born before what the doctors call full term.
One of the scariest consequences of babies being born premature is the risk of developing RSV or Respiratory Syncytial Virus. Babies born before 36 weeks of gestation lack the lung maturity necessary to fight off many serious infections, with RSV being one of the most dangerous.
My daughter Hayley was born on-time but we did experience the fear of her having RSV. It was in the fall when she was 6 weeks old, when she developed what I thought was the common cold. Along with the cold came a low grade fever which I thought was normal. However, I remember her waking up with mild wheezing. Being a first time mom, I was frantic! We took her immediately to the pediatrician and she was diagnosed with RSV. Luckily for us, she had a mild case and did not need to be hospitalized. However, I can assure you it was such a scary day for us and I can only imagine having to go through the more severe form of RSV that preemies are highly susceptible too. We were considered the lucky ones to not be hospitalized considering 125,000 children are hospitalized each year with RSV. RSV is leading cause of infant hospitalization each year. RSV unfortunately will take the lives of 500 babies this year.
The RSV season typically runs from fall into spring so we are beginning to enter it. For all those who are new moms, I highly suggest checking out https://www.rsvprotection.com/ as this is an cumulative website geared to tell you by area where RSV is most prevalent, as well as understanding how to prevent and plan against RSV.
Quick facts about RSV:
..RSV is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, responsible for more than 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 500 infant deaths each year
..RSV occurs in epidemics each fall though spring. The CDC has defined “RSV season” as beginning in November and lasting through March for most parts of North America.
..Despite its prevalence, one-third of mothers have never heard of RSV
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for RSV so prevention is key. When you see in hospitals all the signs to wash your hands before touching babies, it is not to annoy visitors. HAND WASHING by anyone that is going to touch the baby is vital to prevent the spread of germs. Also, if your child has an older sibling, this rule applies to them too. This rule also applies to washing down toys or objects that are passed onto the babies that might have been in the older siblings mouth. Also make sure your babies are never around people who are sick. Kindly ask them to avoid seeing the baby, even if they have the common cold. Never let someone who is smoking around the baby as this can increase the risk of contacting RSV. If you believe your child can be at risk for RSV, please make sure you contact the doctor as soon as possible as preventive therapy might be available.
Please be aware of the symptoms:
..Persistent coughing or wheezing
..Rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths
..Blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails
I hope that you all supported National Preemie Awareness Day. Lets get together and honor the millions of babies that lose their lives and the many more that struggle to survive in this world. Check out the World Prematurity Day on Facebook and help spread the word. Additional information on the health needs of preterm infants can be found at http://www.preemievoices.com/. My personal thank you!
* Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.