I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for MedImmune. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
I love fall and winter. What I don’t love is the illness that comes along with it. Everyone that has been visiting ToBethode for any amount of time knows what my family went through with that beautiful little girl above because of RSV. My baby, at 15 months, was diagnosed with RSV and ended up hospitalized and on a ventilator within a week. No, RSV was not the cause for her ending up on a ventilator but it was the catalyst for a horrible 33 (plus) days of her being hospitalized. There are so many parents that do not even know about RSV, and honestly, that scares me so much.
RSV was the catalyst for Jemma being in the hospital. While she was in the ICU, we met several parents who were in a similar situation with their premature (2x more likely than full-term) and newborn babies because of RSV. RSV changed our lives forever. My Jemma was on ventilators for weeks. I watched my baby struggle for her breaths, saw her with chest tubes due to both lungs collapsing. I wasn’t sure she would be able to come out of it. I was so very thankful to see those we had come to know in the ICU go home with their babies and was hoping for our own little miracle. That day did come and we were able to bring Jemma home. Sadly, I still worry about her (despite her being well over the age for RSV to be a true threat) and will never forget our experience. Because of how it affected our lives, I want everyone to know what RSV is, how it is contracted, and what can be done once your baby is affected. No child should suffer in this way, so I want prevention to be the priority for all parents, especially those with premature babies.
What is RSV?
RSV is really a very common seasonal virus (usually November through March) and it is typically seen in all healthy, full-term children by the age of 2 as cold-like symptoms. But, there are those that are affected on a much larger scale… with it being the leading cause of hospitalization for babies during their first year of life. Can you believe that there are around 125,000 hospitalizations from RSV per year? Even worse, that there are up to 200 deaths from it each year?
Are you reading this feel hopeless to prevent your little one from being affected by this virus? Well, you are wrong! One thing I always wanted as a nurse is to empower parents and families with information. Information will help you keep your child safe from RSV!
RSV is very contagious! It is easily spread through touching, sneezing, and coughing. We believe that Jemma contracted RSV from one of the older kids, who brought it home with them from school (and presented as a cold). There is no treatment for RSV so preventing is crucial! Here are things you can do:
- Wash your hands and have others do the same (this is the single best way to prevent spreading illness)
- Keep toys, clothes, blankets, and sheets clean
- Avoid crowds and other young children during RSV season
- Never let anyone smoke around your baby (this compromises their fragile lungs!)
- Stay away from those that are sick or who have recently been sick
I want you to know the symptoms of RSV too. Remember, knowledge is power! Be watching for these signs and symptoms in your littles ones. If you see any of these, please contact your child’s pediatrician immediately. Time is critical when dealing with RSV so don’t delay in getting care for your baby!
- 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)
On November 17, 2014, World Prematurity Day, please join me in thinking about all those babies that are born premature and the struggles they face. Do all you can to keep them healthy and safe… not just during cold and flu season, but all year round. These babies are at higher risk for illness so it is our responsibility to do all we can to prevent that.
I encourage you to visit www.RSVprotection.com for more information about talking to your child’s pediatrician about risk factors, data regarding the RSV season in your area, and for other real stories of families that have been affected by RSV.