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It’s that time of the year again – cold and flu season. Actually, you can pick up a cold or even the flu year round. They are more prominent in the cold weather months because people tend to be more confined inside, therefore spreading the viruses to those around them.
I work in a childcare setting. I tend to little ones who come to Family Court. I cannot tell you how many times children have coughed and sneezed directly in my face. Ewww! I understand they are little and don’t understand but none the less it’s gross and I worry about catching something. The last thing I want is a cold, or worse.
When you are a first time parent you worry about your babies picking up germs from loved ones or strangers. I know I was a bit paranoid when my daughter was born. I made everyone wash their hands before holding her. I think that is a common thing for most first time parents.
When our son was born things were dramatically different. It wasn’t a matter of being a nervous first time parent (since he was my second born), it was because our son was born 9 weeks premature. He was 14.5″ long and weighed only 2 pounds, 8 ounces. We was barely bigger than a Barbie doll.
Our son spent 33 days in the hospital. He came home when he weighed 4 pounds, 2 ounces.
Our son had some quirky health issues, like Torticollis and he had to wear leg braces for 2 1/2 years due to curved ankles. Thankfully they were treatable.
It’s amazing how much you learn about health and medicine when you have a preemie. Prior to our son being born by emergency c-section we had no clue what Bradycardia and Oxygen Saturation meant. We also learned about another possible health issue – RSV.
RSV is short for Respiratory Syncytial Virus. RSV is almost similar to the common cold and most children are exposed to it by the time they are two years old. For health children it’s not a serious health risk. For preemies RSV can put them in the hospital.
RSV is a seasonal virus that typically runs from the fall through the spring.
A healthy child affected by RSV has symptoms that resemble the common cold. It usually lasts for a few days and then the child is well again. For a premature baby RSV can come with major complications.
RSV causes upwards of 200 infant deaths each year, yet it’s not something that people hear about. Personally I think more doctors, television shoes, newspapers and magazines should talk about RSV and educate the public about how serious this virus can be.
If you have a premature baby (who are at greater risk of RSV) or an infant at home please take the necessary precautions to protect your little one. It’s all common sense stuff.
- Always wash your hands before handling the baby and make sure everyone else does as well.
- Avoid large crowds (malls, stores…), especially during peak season (fall through spring).
- Never, ever expose a child around smoking (that is something people should do regardless of RSV).
- Keep people who are sick away from the infant.
- Keep all of the babies things (toys, bedding, bottles…) cleaned and sanitized.
Your baby’s pediatrician can recommend other things you can do as well.
There is a vaccination that can help against RSV. Our son received the vaccination for two years. It was recommended by the hospital, insurance company and our pediatrician when our son was just a couple of months old. He was born in late September, which is usually the start of RSV season. He received a vaccination once a month for five months. The following year when our son was one years old it was recommended that he receive another round of vaccinations.
I know many people are against vaccinations. It’s not for everyone. But I thought I’d let readers aware that there is a vaccination for RSV.
The vaccination our son had was called Synagis. I’m not sure if that is still available or not. Please speak with your pediatrician if that is a route you would like to explore.
If your infant exhibits any cold like symptoms – coughing, shortness of breath, fever, wheezing – don’t hesitate to take your child to the pediatrician right away. Don’t assume it’s just the common cold, most especially if your infant was a preemie.
There is no treatment for RSV, that is why it’s imperative that you do your best to prevent your child from contracting it.
If you would like more information about RSV and ways you can prevent it, please visit www.RSVProtection.com. PLEASE pass along this important information to those you know with infants, and perhaps even those who are expecting.
FYI… On November 17, 2014 it’s World Prematurity Day. Please join groups and organizations around the world to raise awareness about premature births and ways they can be prevented. In my case there was nothing I could have done. I had an inadequate placenta and our son wasn’t growing or moving. He was almost stillborn. The doctors felt he had a better chance of survival outside of the womb, there fore an emergency c-section was done to remove him and get him the oxygen and other life saving support he required.
I’m happy to say that my preemie is now a happy, healthy, 15 year old born.
To hear what others have to say please check out the hashtags #RSVAwareness and #PreemieProtection on the social media channels.