January was the month of sick in our house. From the week after Christmas through the end of January, we had three different sicknesses in this house that plagued every member except for our littlest one. Knock on wood, as sick as we were baby S never got sick. I attribute her health to breastfeeding (love those antibodies), being an hand-washing, surface-sanitizing nut and more than a little luck.
While our baby girl has remained healthy for her first five months, I know the sickies will come eventually. I just hope her sickies are mild because nothing is worse than a sick baby.
One of the most common ailments for babes under two is RSV, however, many people are unfamiliar with this common sickness. The reason most are unfamiliar is that for most little ones, RSV presents as a bad chest cold. Yucky no doubt, but nothing to become alarmed about. However, for preemies with underdeveloped lungs (and some otherwise healthy babies) RSV can mean a hospital visit, breathing treatments and more. (I cannot even imagine how scary this would be!)
I have shared information about RSV before, however, since the health of our little ones is so important I think it bears repeating. Here are some quick tips to preventing RSV from infecting your baby. Remember if you have a high-risk baby (or even a healthy baby) it is ok to remind every visitor to wash their hands — even if you sound like a broken record.
A few tips to remember when a loved one has a new baby:
- Call before you visit. New parents need time to set up a routine and bond. By giving them time to do so before you visit, you are respecting the new family.
- Postpone a visit if you feel that you may be getting sick, have recently been ill or exposed to illness.
- Remember that parents know best. If you feel they are being overprotective or overly cautious, just consider that only they know what’s best for the health of their new son or daughter.
- Offer to do something to ease their responsibilities as they spend time as a family, such as laundry, cooking or dishes. Sleep-deprived moms and dads will appreciate your help!
If you do schedule a visit with a new baby:
- Wash your hands frequently—upon entering the home and especially prior to holding the baby. Parents, and the new baby, will appreciate it.
- Leave toddlers at home, especially during the winter months. Young children, especially if they attend day care or preschool, often carry germs and viruses, like RSV, that are easily spread.
A few facts about RSV that all parents, caregivers and loved ones should know:
- Almost every baby will contract RSV by age 2, but only 1/3 of moms say they’ve heard of the virus.
- Serious RSV infection is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, responsible for more than 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 500 infant deaths each year.
- RSV occurs in epidemics each fall through spring. The CDC has defined “RSV season” as beginning in November and lasting through March for most parts of North America.
- There is no treatment for RSV, so it’s important for parents to take preventive steps to help protect their child (e.g., wash hands, toys, bedding frequently; avoid crowds and cigarette smoke).
- Certain babies are at an increased risk of developing serious RSV infection, so it’s important to speak with a pediatrician to determine if a baby may be at high risk for RSV, and discuss preventive measures.
- Symptoms of serious RSV infection include: persistent coughing or wheezing; rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths; blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails; high fever; extreme fatigue; and difficulty feeding. Parents should contact a medical professional immediately upon signs of these symptoms.
To learn more about RSV, visit www.rsvprotection.com.
Disclosure – 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.