RSV prevention and Preemie Awareness Day (November 17)

Last Updated on September 18, 2020 by Ellen Christian

I remember when I was pregnant with my daughter. I had all of these dreams about how the birth was going to be and how I would hold her and bond with her as soon as she was born. Unfortunately, my labor wasn’t the perfect experience I’d imagined. I ended up with all sorts of monitors and an IV and when Sarah18 was born, she was rushed off to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit so I didn’t get more than a second to look into her eyes after she was born.

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Not every woman has an ideal pregnancy and not every baby enters this world in ideal conditions. A baby born earlier than 36 weeks gestation lacks the defenses to prevent serious infections from a common virus called RSV. RSV is more likely to take root in premature lungs where developing airways are narrowed and especially fragile. Premature babies carry fewer virus fighting antibodies.

RSV infection of the small airways (RSV bronchitis) is the leading cause of hospitalization among infants in the US.  RSV prevention and Preemie Awareness Day is November 17.

There is no treatment for RSV, so it’s important for parents to 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 may be sick
• Never let anyone smoke near your baby
• Speak with your child’s doctor if you believe he or she may be at high risk for RSV, as a preventive therapy may be available

Contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits one or more of the following:

• Persistent coughing or wheezing
• Rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths
• Blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails
• High fever
• Extreme fatigue
• Difficulty feeding

This is a topic that’s near and dear to me and I’d love it if you would take a moment to share this post with your friends to get the word out.

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