Keeping your baby safe from RSV

by Stefany on November 13, 2013

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for MedImmune. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

On January 1st of this year, my life changed forever. I had heard about RSV before but never had a child affected by it.  Jemma was just not feeling well all day on the New Year’s Eve. We hung out in the chair all night together. As New Year’s day wore on, I noticed more and more of the runny nose and she was miserable. Coughing started and I knew it was time to take her to the hospital. I brought her to the ER and they were unable to control her symptoms. She was diagnosed with RSV on the way to Children’s Hospital. What happened after that is truly a nightmare that I am forever going to remember. The worst part is that, if she had not developed the RSV, she would not have gone through so much.

I wanted to be part of this campaign because RSV affected my life and the life of my baby in such a profound way.  I also know several women who delivered premature babies. World Prematurity Day is November 17th and I want to be able to share with others the risks that preemies face when it comes to RSV. Keep in mind that Jemma was a healthy little girl prior to developing RSV so it isn’t just preemies, but they are more susceptible.

What you need to know about RSV:

  • 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

Symptoms of Severe RSV

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]

Protecting your 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

In hindsight, Jemma likely “caught” the virus from one of her siblings. We have always practiced good hand washing but that is definitely something I remind the kids of more now. We also stay away from sick kids and adults much more consistently now.

If you have a young child or know someone that does, please check out the info graphic below. Feel free to share it with your friends and relatives. It is so important to keep those little ones healthy. Like I mentioned above, there is no treatment for RSV once is it contracted so you must do all you can to keep your little one from getting it.

RSV Infographic

Please speak to your child’s pediatrician to determine if your baby is at high risk for RSV disease, and if so, what additional steps may be recommended. For more information about RSV and prevention, visit

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