World Prematurity Day is November 17th.
This is a day to help Parents fully understand the increased risks that come with premature birth and the specialized health care that preemies often require.
Having a preemie makes that baby increases their risk of contracting a life threatening illness'. Young infants are very susceptible to infection in the early weeks of their lives, so contracting something as small as the common cold can present danger. This is especially true for babies born early, because they have underdeveloped lungs and immature immune systems.
Did you know that 79 percent of preemie moms have a baby who was hospitalized due to a severe respiratory infection?
One virus in particular that parents of preemies should know about is respiratory syncytial virus, commonly known as RSV.
RSV: A Risk to Preemies
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 immune 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
Speak with your child’s doctor if he or she may be at high risk for RSV, as a preventive therapy may be available Know the Symptoms 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
Please take a moment to visit RSVProtection.com to learn more about RSV!