It’s that time of year again. The time of year where we bundle up before heading out and sanitize our hands after every encounter with people that seem to be sniffling or coughing. It is also the time of year where RSV becomes a real threat to children under two. RSV stands for respiratory syncytial virus and can be fatal in babies, especially those who are premature.
Premature babies, those who are born before 37 weeks of gestation, may not have fully developed organs and are at an increased risk of complications. November 17th is World Prematurity Day and expecting parents should be aware of the complications that arise with preterm births. Preemies are especially susceptible to respiratory problems since their lungs are not fully developed.
My daughter, although she was not a preemie, contracted RSV when she was a year old. Since we caught it early, she did not require hospitalization, but was sent home with a nebulizer. My husband and I were up round the clock to care for my wheezing child who had a difficult time breathing. It took almost a month to fully clear up, and we were lucky that it was caught early. Although she was a typical, healthy one year old, the virus weakened her immune system and she became sick two more times within a month.
RSV Quick Facts
- RSV is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, and severe RSV disease causes up to 10 times as many infant deaths each year as the flu.
- RSV is most prevalent during the winter months. The CDC has defined the “RSV season” as beginning in November and lasting through March for most parts of North America.
- In addition to prematurity, common risk factors include low birth weight, certain lung or heart diseases, a family history of asthma and frequent contact with other children.
RSV is highly contagious and spreads just as easily as the common cold. As a matter of fact, it mimics “common cold” symptoms in older children. Since there is no specific treatment for RSV, prevention is important and taking simple steps such as hand washing, keeping toys clean, and avoiding large crowds can lower your baby’s risk of getting RSV.
I wrote this review while participating in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.