Preemie Awareness Day is November 17th, so now it the perfect time for you to spread some knowledge… yes, I said you. The babies can’t speak for themselves, we have to do it for them.
I was both surprised and concerned to read the statistics on how many people are unaware of basic information concerning premature birth. 75% of parents don’t even know the definition of prematurity (born prior to 37 weeks gestation). In industrialized nations, I can only assume, that this is due more to premature birth being sort of a taboo subject that no one discusses unless it occurs, , rather than because of a lack of available information. I know, I was very concerned about the possibility of my daughter being born preterm, and was always aware of her development and what her chances and expectations would be as my pregnancy progressed. Luckily, it was not an issue with her (She was so cozy in there, she had to be evicted), but I have seen a number of friends go through the experience of having their babies early, and it can be a tough road.
Half a million babies are born prematurely in the United States each year, and these children are more susceptible to infections due to their underdeveloped organs, particularly their lungs. Even once these little babies get out of the NICU, and go home with their families, they are at considerable risk from RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), a common viral infection, that most children catch by the age of two. In full term kids, RSV can often pass for a common cold, but it can be much more serious, even life threatening for preemies. Infants with previous lung or heart issues, low birth weight, and family asthmatic history are at higher risk, as well. RSV is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, and causes the deaths of 10 x as many babies than the flu each year. In North America, the highest risk of contracting this infection is from November through March.
Here are some important facts about RSV.
Prevention is Key
RSV is very contagious and can be spread easily through touching, sneezing and coughing. Since there’s no
treatment for RSV, parents should take the following preventive steps to help protect their child:
· Wash hands, toys, bedding, and play areas frequently
· Ensure you, your family, and any visitors in your home wash their hands or use hand sanitizer
· Avoid large crowds and people who are or have been sick
· Never let anyone smoke near your baby
· Speak with your child’s doctor if he or she may be at high risk for RSV, as a preventive therapy may
Know the Symptoms
Contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits one or more of the following:
· Severe coughing, wheezing or rapid gasping breaths
· Blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails
· High fever and extreme fatigue
To learn more about RSV, visit RSVProtection.com
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.