On November 17th, the world will celebrate Preemie Awareness Day– Will you be rocking your purple colors for this awareness day?
Every year we show our support for the 13 MILLION babies born prematurely around the world. We need to make mothers everywhere aware of this major problem. In the U.S alone 1400 babies a year will have to fight for every breath because they were born long before they were ready. I fight for them, just like I fought for my little baby. I rock my purple because prematurity has rocked my life. It has greatly affected my family, and even though it has been two years since her traumatic birth we are still affected. You can read our premature birth story here.
Premature babies after birth are at risk for RSV. RSV will take the lives of 500 babies this year. It shakes me to the core. Even after the NICU rollercoaster, preemie babies are still in danger. My daughter has Chronic Lung Disease making her still in danger of this virus.
This is a real risk, and a real problem. Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV is a major concern for babies born prematurely. Premature babies are born with a weakened immune system and underdeveloped lungs making them susceptible to infections. While most children are exposed or contract RSV by the time they are 2, premature babies are not able to fight off the bug like other children. Over 125,000 children are hospitalized each year with RSV, making it the leading cause of infant hospitalizations.
RSV season is about to begin- running from November to March depending on where you live(You can check the RSV season map to see the months for your area). And while we can not make their little lungs stronger or give them magical immunity there is a few things we can do to help protect our fragile babies from this virus.
RSV is spread like the common cold- through touching, coughing, sneezing etc. First defense against RSV, is to keep your premature baby away from strangers and anyone with cold symptoms. RSV looks like the common cold in normal healthy people, so avoid crowded areas during those key months. No Christmas shopping with your preemie baby. I know this is very hard after a long NICU stay, you just want to show off your baby and live a “normal” life. But keeping your baby healthy and part of your life is the main priority.
HAND WASH HAND WASH HAND WASH!! Frequent hand washing by anyone touching the baby can help prevent the spread of germs. This is especially important if you have other children in the home that can pick up germs from daycare centers or schools.
When my daughter came home we didn’t let anyone hold her, and we had little signs that hung on her car seat asking people politely not to touch. I may have offended people, but she was safe.
RSVProtection.com also recommends not allowing anyone to smoke near your baby and to frequently wash baby clothes and bedding. RSV can live up to 7 hours on surfaces, so be sure to use a disinfectant on high traffic areas and anytime guests are over. And watch for symptoms including: High fever, extreme fatigue, persistent coughing or wheezing, blue color to lips, mouth, or nails, and rapid difficult breathing. Contact your pedi or seek treatment immediately if your child starts up with these symptoms.
Learn more about RSV and the ways you can protect your premature baby from the danger in puts them in. Talk to your Dr about RSV- You can sign up to receive some fact sheets and questions to ask your Dr at RSVProtection.com.
And don’t forget to show your support on November 17th for National Preemie Awareness Day! Honor the million babies a year that lose their lives and the 12 million more that struggle to survive. Wear your purple, eat at participating restaurant, and pray. I pray everyday that more babies won’t be a statistic, and more moms get to bring their babies home. Get involved in this issue of life- start by liking World Prematurity Day on Facebook. Babies deserve to live.