I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for MedImmune. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.
RSV – The Invisible Threat
Are you aware of how dangerous RSV can be? To adults, it may just seem like a common cold. We tend to shake those off in a few days to a week and don’t often think about how our symptoms may affect others we come in contact with throughout the day. Most of us don’t stay home in bed when all we have is a runny nose or persistent cough. No, life is much too busy for that.
What many don’t realize is that this common cold can be a cold-blooded killer. How else would you describe something that’s able to kill an innocent baby that hasn’t even had a chance to explore its own back yard, let alone the world? Yes, that “little cold” that you have today may actually be RSV, which can cause very serious symptoms in infants. Preterm infants are at the greatest risk, as their lungs and immune systems are not yet fully developed.
With World Prematurity Day on November 17th, we’ve partnered with Mom Central and MedImmune to get the word out about RSV prevention and hopefully make more people aware of the symptoms.
RSV: A Risk to Preemies
My son was born 3 weeks premature and, due to complications with the umbilical cord in the womb, he was also much smaller than anyone had anticipated.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common seasonal virus, contracted by nearly all children by the age of two, and typically causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms in healthy, full-term babies. Preterm infants, however, are born with undeveloped lungs and immature immune systems that put them at heightened risk for developing severe RSV disease, often requiring hospitalization.
- 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 mmune systems mature after birth
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
Learn the Symptoms of Severe RSV Disease:
Contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits one or more of the following:
- Persistent coughing or wheezing
- Bluish color around the 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]
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
Be sure to check out the RSV Infographic below and visit RSVProtection.com for even more information.
Click to view a larger version of this RSV Infographic.