Jacob, at about three weeks old

I really wanted in on this Mom Central blog tour because it is a subject that means a lot to me. As my regular readers know, my son Jacob was a preemie. He was born at 32 weeks, weighing just 3lbs, 5oz. We were fortunate, he was able to come home after 13 days in the NICU and didn’t suffer from any long-term negative effects. Because he was born so early and didn’t reach six months before the start of RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) season, he qualified for the RSV  vaccine. Once a month from November through March, a nurse would come out to our home and give him the vaccine, then sit with us for 30 minutes to ensure that he didn’t have a reaction.

RSV is an extremely common contagious respiratory illness that affects millions of babies and young children each year. For most children, it causes moderate to severe cold-like symptoms. For preemies, however, it can be devastating. Due to underdeveloped lungs at birth, preemies are at a higher risk of developing serious, potentially fatal lung infections as a result of RSV.

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RSV Risk Factors

  • Babies born prior to 36 weeks are at a higher risk. According to my doctor, babies born prior to 33 weeks are at the absolute highest risk. I remember this because Jacob was right on that cusp.
  • Infants and toddlers that were born with lung or heart problems are at in increased risk.
  • Babies in daycare or with older siblings may be at a higher risk as well, mostly due to the fact that they have a higher chance of coming into contact with others carrying the virus.

More Info About RSV

What You Can Do to Prevent RSV

  • The most important thing you can do to help prevent your baby from getting RSV (and any virus or bacteria) is wash your hands frequently and properly. You don’t need fancy soaps, the warmest water you can stand and the friction caused by rubbing your hands together for at least 20 seconds is usually enough. Dry them using a clean towel, not an air dryer. In nursing school, we were taught that those environmentally friendly air dryers actually give left-behind germs a really great environment in which to grow and thrive.
  • Don’t smoke around your baby. This pretty much goes without saying. If you smoke (hey, no judgement here), do it outside.
  • Keep your baby away from people with colds. I’m not saying become a hermit all winter, but if someone is coughing and sneezing, it’s probably best to avoid letting them hold your infant.
  • Visit RSVProtection.com for more information
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RSV symptoms are similar to those of the common cold, but if your baby begins coughing and wheezing on a persistent basis, turns blue, or seems to be having difficulty breathing, go to the doctor right away. I know that’s pretty obvious advice, but I wanted to repeat it just in case.

About Preemie Awareness Day

November 17th is World Prematurity Day, although the entire month is dedicated to raising awareness. Despite the fact that we are considered one of the most advanced countries in the world, a whopping 1 in 8 babies is still born prematurely in the United States. Throughout the entire world, over 13 million premature babies are born each year. Visit the March of Dimes to learn more about this very important cause.

 

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.