World Prematurity Day is November 17– Educate Yourself About Preemies and RSV

medimmune disclosure

rsv header

For years, my mother-in-law was told that she wouldn’t be able to have children.  She prayed and prayed for God to bless her with that special child that she wanted so badly.

Her prayers were answered and she became pregnant with my husband, Darren.

Darren was born on July 8, 1984 weighing 5 lbs. 5 oz.  He was 6 weeks premature.  This early entrance led to a lengthy stay in the NICU, as well as several blood transfusions.

We’ve been fortunate in the fact that since that time, Darren has remained rather healthy.  He’s dealt with several unusual health issues, including a spontaneous collapsed lung, that doctors say may be a lasting effect from his premature birth.

RSV Infographic

The truth is that preemies have a much higher chance of experiencing complications and contracting things such as RSV.  World Prematurity Day is November 17, and I want to take this opportunity to educate you about it.

Each year worldwide, 13 million babies are born prematurely, and more than one million preemies have died just this year from the
serious health challenges they face. The current rate of prematurity in the United States is 12.2 percent—one of the highest rates of
preterm birth in the world.

Despite these huge numbers, many parents aren’t really aware what prematurity is {being born before 37 weeks gestation} or the effects it can have on a baby.

If a child leaves the womb early, it is highly possible that their vital organs have not finished forming.  Because the immune system and lungs are not fully developed, many preemies develop respiratory issues and infections.  This can even potentially effect the child further down the road in life, such as when Darren’s lung collapsed.

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.  It appear in epidemics, with November through March being the time it usually occurs.

RSV is contracted by nearly all children by the age of two, often causing relatively minor symptoms that mimic the common cold. However, preemies are most at risk for developing much more serious symptoms, including a serious respiratory infection from the virus, because their lungs are underdeveloped and they don’t have the antibodies needed to fight off infection.

As with many potentially dangerous viruses, prevention is the key. RSV is very contagious and can be spread easily through touching, sneezing and coughing. Since there’s no treatment for RSV, parents should 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 are or have been sick
  • Never let anyone smoke near your baby
  • Speak with your child’s doctor if he or she may be at high risk for RSV, as a preventive therapy may be available

Symptoms of RSV include Severe coughing, wheezing or rapid gasping breaths, blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails, and high fever and extreme fatigue.  If your child is exhibiting these symptoms, you should contact the pediatrician immediately.

Remember– knowledge is power.  I invite you to find out more about RSV by visiting RSVProtection.com.

2 comments

  1. renee says:

    RSV is absolutely terrifying. I’m amazed that I didn’t even learn of this virus until the birth of my second child. I think hospitals should hand out information pamphlets on it to every new parent!

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