Premature birth has risen 36% over the last 25 years to 12.2% in the USA. 13 million babies are born premature across the globe every year, with 1 million dying during their first year. This is an alarming health situation. Preemies have special health needs and many parents aren’t well educated on this issue. World Prematurity Day is November 17th, use this as a reminder to ask your pediatrician about the risks and extra measures that you need to be aware of for your preemie.
I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for MedImmune. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.
My daughter was born 3 weeks and 4 days early, technically, she was premature. Any birth at or before 37 weeks is premature. I don’t feel like I was educated on special measures to keep my baby protected, perhaps because she was 8lbs 15oz.
At any rate, the risk to preemies is serious, especially this time of year. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) affects nearly ALL children by the age of 2. It is the leading cause of hospitalization for babies in their first year of life, with 125,000 annually, with up to 400 deaths per year. The risk is higher for preemies with premature lungs as RSV infection develop in airways. Preemies have less antibodies to fight off RSV.
My kids have both had RSV as toddlers and two years ago at ages 4 & 6. It is no fun. RSV is often accompanied by wheezing, persistent coughing, blue colored mouth and fingernails, difficulty breathing, and fevers. I have spent many nights sleeping with my kids when they had RSV, just to make sure they breathed through the night. There is no cure for RSV. Your best bet is to protect your baby and children from RSV.
Protect your Baby from RSV
Everyone should protect their children from RSV, but especially moms with babies under 2 years old and moms of preemies.
- Wash your baby’s hands, your own, and ask anyone who comes in contact with your baby to wash their hands – this is your baby, you have the right to ask
- Keep everything your baby comes into contact with clean: toys, clothes, blanket, sheets, bibs, coats, railings, etc
- Avoid crowds and other young children during RSV season – I didn’t take my kids to church or crowded places for 3 months after birth
- Never, ever let anyone smoke around your baby or take your baby around places that have smokers
- Avoid sick people or those that have been recently sick – I have had to miss holiday celebrations because I didn’t want my babies exposed to sick people and I have stayed home when my kids were under the weather instead of spreading it to families with young babies. It is worth it if it protects your baby from RSV.
Learn more with this infographic:
To learn more about RSV protection for your baby, browse the RSVProtection.com website and talk with your pediatrician about additional ways to protect your preemie and children from RSV this season. To join the RSV conversation with other moms online, use the #RSVAwareness hashtag while tweeting.