November 17th (in addition to being my wonderful husband’s birthday!) is Preemie Awareness Day. I remember being pregnant for the first time and how blissfully unaware of all of the complications and threats pregnant women and newborns face. My 5 year old was born 3 weeks early and it wasn’t until a follow up appointment that I found out he was “premature” despite weighing over 7 pounds! Thankfully he was healthy and didn’t have major health issues, but I was thrown into a whirlwind of learning everything I had to do to protect my baby boy from illnesses like whooping cough and RSV.
I have had several friends give birth prematurely, and it has been heartbreaking to watch the struggles that those families go through with their babies and all of the health issues they have. I have seen how careful these new parents have to be with their newborns to protect them from getting sick and I have seen how few people understand the risks of RSV.
Premature babies, defined as being born before 37 weeks gestation, are at a higher risk of developing RSV because their lungs and immune systems did not fully develop while in the womb. According to MedImmune, RSV is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, and severe RSV causes up to 10 times as many death in infants as the flu.
The goal of Preemie Awareness Day, on November 17th, is to educate parents-to-be about the risks of premature birth and RSV in their babies. Parents need to learn the symptoms of RSV which are:
- Severe coughing, wheezing or rapid gasping breaths
- Blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails
- High fever & extreme fatigue
To help prevent RSV, parents of babies need to wash hands, toys, bedding, and play areas frequently. Despite the urge to show their babies off to everyone, it’s important to have all guests wash hands or use hand sanitizer, and avoid contact with large crowds or people who are sick.
RSV is a serious threat to any newborn and I encourage you to learn more about RSV by visiting RSVProtection.com.
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.