|Chris at a few weeks old|
One of those risks is called RSV, or respiratory synctitial virus. We learned about RSV a few months into Chris' NICU stay, when a tragedy struck another family. We had gotten to know a couple before their son, Jonah, went home from the hospital. A hale and hearty 34-weeker (compared to our fragile little bird), Jonah contracted RSV a few weeks after arriving home, and after being hospitalized for a week or so as the medical staff tried to save his life, he died.
|Our freezer full of breast milk|
- RSV occurs in epidemics each fall through spring. The Centers for Disease Control 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. (I had certainly never heard of it before I entered the NICU world.)
- Prevention is key because there is no surefire treatment (and even the treatments available are given only to the highest-risk kids):
- Wash hands, toys, bedding, and play areas frequently
- Ensure that you, your family, and any visitors wash their hands or use hand sanitizer
- Avoid large crowds and people who may be sick
- Never let anyone smoke near your baby
- Parents should speak with their pediatrician to find out if their baby is at high risk for developing severe RSV and how they can prevent against RSV this winter. They can also watch out for symptoms:
- 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
Please help me spread the word about RSV in honor of World Prematurity Day, November 17.
*I wrote this post 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.