The first few days of parenthood were overwhelming. I could not believe that I was allowed to be alone with my daughter. I mean, I had no idea what I was doing. Then when #2 was born, I didn’t feel any better equip. Sure I’d done it before, but the responsibility of caring for a teeny tiny baby just seemed ginormous. Both of my children were considered full term, but I’ll tell you what, I could tell the difference between the one that was born at 40 weeks (#1) and the one that was born at 37 weeks (#2). My 37 week old was just so much more delicate. Her ears weren’t even ears, they were more like tissue paper in the shape of ears. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like if she had been born earlier.
November 17 is World Prematurity Day. Over 13 million babies are born early every year. More than half a million of those children are born in the United States. Prematurity is defined as being born before 37 weeks. Premature babies (and parents) face even more challenges than other babies. Prematurity is the leading cause of neonatal death.
Preemies are more likely to develop infections and are prone to respiratory problems because their immune systems and lungs aren’t fully developed. One particular virus that preemies are susceptible to and therefore parents of preemies should know about is RSV.
What is RSV?
RSV, respiratory syncytial virus, is a common virus contracted by almost all children by the age of two. The symptoms are similar to the common cold. Unfortunately, preemies are at risk for developing more serious symptoms because of their underdeveloped lungs and their lack of antibodies.
There is no treatment for RSV, that is why awareness and prevention are so important. RSV is very contagious and can be spread by touching, coughing, or sneezing.
What can parents do to protect their child from RSV?
- Keep hands, bedding, toys, and play areas clean by washing frequently.
- Make sure that family and any visitors that come into your home wash their hands or use hand sanitizer. Do not be shy about asking!
- Stay away from large crowds or people who have been sick.
- Do not let anyone smoke around your baby.
- Speak to your child’s doctor if your baby is high risk for RSV as there may be preventative treatment.
As with so many things in life, prevention is key. Please visit the RSV Protection Site for more information, you never know when a teeny tiny baby in your life may need your help. It is better to know and never need the information, than not to know when you need to know.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with RSV Protection and Latina Bloggers Connect. However, all statements and opinions are my own.