As Mothers, I believe if there were but one thread that linked us all, it would be that we will do anything to protect or children. From the moment I found out there was a tiny life growing inside me, that protective nature just blossomed within. If there is anything I can, or could do, to protect my child. I want all the information and facts I can get.
November 17, is world preemie day, a day to spread awareness for the tiniest gifts we’ve received into this world. I was fortunate that all my children were born at term, but have too many friends and family members who were not as lucky. Of course, they were still all just as blessed, with little fighters that have grown into happy and healthy children, due to proper care and early education on preemies.
Did you know that worldwide, 13 million babies are born early every year, including more than half a million in the United States? Despite these staggering numbers, many parents still aren’t aware of prematurity—the leading cause of neonatal death.
In fact, a recent survey on prematurity awareness found that 3 in 10 mothers of preemies weren’t aware of the possibility of prematurity until they had their first child. And 75% of parents don’t know the definition of prematurity.Given this low awareness, it is clear many parents don’t fully understand the increased risks that come with premature birth – and the specialized health care those preemies often require. That is truly a sobering thought.
What is prematurity?
When a baby is born before 37 weeks gestational age, he or she is considered to be premature or preterm. When a baby is born prematurely some of their body’s most critical organs have not had the chance to completely develop. These babies are at an increased risk of serious medical complications and regularly face weeks or even months in the NICU. Additionally, it’s often a preemies lungs and immune systems that suffer the most, leaving them easily susceptible to respiratory problems and illness like respiratory syncytial virus, also known as, simply, RSV.
RSV is contracted by nearly all children by the age of two, often causing relatively minor symptoms that mimic the common cold. However, preemies are most at risk for developing much more serious symptoms, including a serious respiratory infection (severe RSV disease) from the virus, because their lungs are underdeveloped and they don’t have the antibodies needed to fight off infection.
Facts and symptoms of RSV you should be aware of:
- RSV is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, and severe RSV disease causes up to 10 times asmany infant deaths each year as the flu.
- RSV is most prevalent during the winter months. The CDC has defined the “RSV season” as beginning in November and lasting through March for most parts of North America.
- In addition to prematurity, common risk factors include low birth weight, certain lung or heart diseases, a family history of asthma and frequent contact with other children.
Contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits one or more of the following:
- Severe coughing, wheezing or rapid gasping breaths
- Join the Blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails
- High fever and extreme fatigue
Can RSV be stopped?
With RSV prevention is key, especially when it comes to preemies. 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 maybe available
To learn more please visit RSVProtection.com and encourage friends and family to do the same; knowledge is power! And don't forget to mark the date. November 17th, 2012, World Preemie Day, speak up for preemies nation wide.
"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."