This post is part of a compensated campaign in collaboration with MedImmune and Latina Bloggers Connect.
* As always, opinions are my own. *
One upon a time I had a baby and like every other mom who loves her children, I worried. A lot. Although much has changed in twelve years, two things have remained constant: my worries and the fact that the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is as dangerous today as it was when my son was born. Especially scary is that there's no cure for it, so the best medicine is prevention.
"Despite being so common, many parents aren’t aware of RSV; in fact, one-third of mothers (and two-thirds of Hispanic mothers) have never heard of the virus"
I was one of those women who'd never heard of the respiratory syncytial virus. So imagine my reaction when the pediatrician told us that our baby was at higher risk because of his having been born prematurely.
If you're expecting, have a baby under the age of five, or know someone who does, you should familiarize yourself with following facts of figures.
ABCs of RSV: Facts and FiguresA is for Awareness:
"RSV is a common seasonal virus, contracted by nearly all children by the age of two, and typically causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms in healthy, full-term babies. Preterm infants, however, are born with undeveloped lungs and immature immune systems that put them at heightened risk for developing severe RSV disease, often requiring hospitalization.
- RSV occurs in epidemics each year, typically from November through March, though it can vary by geography and year-to-year
- RSV disease is the leading cause of hospitalization for babies during their first year of life in the United States, with approximately 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 400 infant deaths each year
- RSV disease is responsible for one of every 13 pediatrician visits and one of every 38 trips to the ER in children under the age of five
- Despite being so common, many parents aren’t aware of RSV; in fact, one-third of mothers (and two-thirds of Hispanic mothers) have never heard of the virus
B is for Babies:
- Premature babies—defined as those born before 37 weeks gestation—are most at risk for developing severe
- RSV disease because they have underdeveloped lungs and fewer antibodies to fight the virus than babies born full term.
- Amongst Hispanics, the preterm birth rate has grown six percent over the last decade. Currently one in eight
- Hispanic babies is born premature and it is likely that high prematurity rates are a reason for increased risk of RSV within Hispanic communities.
C is for Contagious:
RSV is very contagious and can be spread easily through touching, sneezing and coughing. Additionally, the virus can live on the skin and surfaces for hours. Learn the symptoms of severe RSV disease and contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits one or more of the following:
- 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]"
Remember, prevention is the best medicine. For more information go to www.rsvprotection.com
Have you had any experience with RSV, or did you know about it when you had your children?