October 31, 2014

Coughs, Colds and Protecting Your Baby from the Dangers of RSV

Disclosure:  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.

When I was pregnant with my twin sons I remember being bombarded with so much information.  It was my first successful pregnancy and with each passing week, I was one day closer to my goal of a full term birth.  My family knows all too well the complications of premature births and with so much stacked against me I prayed my pregnancy would beat the odds.  I was fortunate and birthed healthy twin boys full term.  I know each day several babies enter the world prematurely.  Preemies face a lot of challenges including increased risk for breathing and respiratory related conditions like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).  RSV is a cold-like virus which affects most children by the age of 2 but preemies are twice as likely to develop the disease as opposed to babies born full term.

When I was a little girl, I remember my grandmother and great-grandmother scolding those visiting newborns in our family saying "Washed ya hands before you pick up that baby."  Funny, they were right.  The CDC and American Red Cross cite handwashing as one of the best ways to prevent the spread of germs like colds and flu.  In fact, the Red Cross incorporates hand washing into several of their training protocols. 

This time of year, November through March, is cold and flu season and it's also RSV season.  Some may mistake RSV for the common cold but unlike the common cold, RSV can be deadly to little ones.  In fact each year in the United States some 125,000 children under age 2 are hospitalized due to RSV and another 200 die due to the deadly disease.  Yet, many new parents have never even heard of the disease.  It's important to educate new parents about this dreaded disease and ways to protect their little ones from it.

First and foremost, KNOW THE SIGNS.
If your child has any of these symptoms, contact your pediatrician IMMEDIATELY:
  • Persistent coughing or wheezing
  • Bluish color around mouth or fingernails
  • Rapid, difficult or gasping breaths
  • Fever (100.4 F°{rectal} in infants under 3 months of age)
  • RSV is extremely contagious so before others hold your little one make sure they  wash their hands before holding your baby  
  • Keep baby's clothing, toys and blankets clean
  • Don't let anyone smoke in your home or around your baby
  • Avoid crowds, young children and people with coughs, colds or sniffles and remind people to cover the mouths when coughing
  • Talk to your child's pediatrician about RSV
  • Start discussions with other new parents you know
  • Check out www.RSVprotection.com and learn more about RSV
November 17 is World Prematurity Awareness Day and it's a great time to share the facts and raise the awareness about premature births.  Learn more about who's at risk for premature births, causes of premature births and ways to reduce your risks.


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