The Crazy Suburban Mom: RSV/ Preemie Awareness sponsored by MedImmune

Friday, November 11, 2011

RSV/ Preemie Awareness sponsored by MedImmune

November 17th is Preemie Awareness Day.  Worldwide this year, one million babies will die from complications of their early birth. Millions more will struggle to survive. World Premature Day is about much more than just numbers, though. It's a time for people of all nations to join together in support of healthier babies.   


When I found out I was pregnant ...way back in 1990...  I thought constantly of my growing (healthy) baby.    Premature labor, an early baby or the medical problems associated with preemies never occurred to me.  


Not until my twenty-seventh week, anyway.


I'd had mild contractions all day but I didn't go to the hospital for probably, eight hours?  Things always seems worse in the dark....  I didn't really believe it was happening; but there I was,  laying in a Labor and Delivery bed, contracting.  The   nurses were talking about what was going on, what would happen...  What all these things meant.   I looked at them as if they had two heads.   



Thinking back on my level of denial and shock, it was ridiculous.  I was a Respiratory Therapist, make that a Respiratory Therapist who'd spent years working with preemies in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.   



Because of my work experience I knew how big my son was likely to be at that point (less then 2 pounds), I'd seen enough babies born at twenty-seven weeks.  Knew the challenges he'd face, the months to come in an NICU and the years of playing catch up, if he was lucky enough to make it the first week.  It was probably just too overwhelming for me to contemplate and I defaulted to denial and optimism.  



I'm happy to say that after much intervention, and repeated hospitalizations, he was born by emergency C-Section at 36 weeks; still technically a preemie.  He was not alone:   "According  to CDC’s  National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), 440,082 preterm births (10.8% of all live births with a known period of gestation) occurred in the United States in 1991." 


The thing about having a Preemie is, you're not in the clear if they are born" pretty much okay" as my son was.   Some  preemies  have difficulty with breathing, feeding and maintaining temperature but all preemies haven’t had time for their immune systems to fully mature.   Preterm infants are more likely to develop infections, and because their lungs are underdeveloped, they are more susceptible to respiratory problems.   


Nearly every baby contracts respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) by age two. In most full-term babies, symptoms are similar to those of the common cold and parents may not even know their child has the virus. However, because they don’t have the antibodies needed to fight off infection, preterm infants—even those born just a few weeks early—are at increased risk for developing an RSV-related infection, often requiring medical attention or hospitalization.


click for larger image

There are things you can do during RSV season which varies by area of the country (to check your area go to the RSV Website Interactive Map) but since there is no cure the focus is on AWARENESS and PREVENTION:


PREVENTION

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 may be sick
Never let anyone smoke near your baby
Speak with your child’s doctor if you believe he or she may be at high risk for RSV, as a preventive therapy may be available







AWARENESS


Contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits one or more of the following: 
Persistent coughing or wheezing
Rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths
Blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails
High fever 
Extreme fatigue
Difficulty feeding


To learn more about RSV, visit rsvprotection. For more about the specialized health needs of preterm infants, visit preemievoices.



“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.”



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