“SPEAK UP for your premature Baby! Preemies can’t speak for themselves. Be their voice.”
November 17th is Preemie Awareness Day and although it has passed there is something that each one of us should be aware of and find someway to reachout and help. I will admit I did not know such a day existed before my son was born 6 years ago. No, he was not born premature but he was at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) for seven months. We had the pleasure of becoming friends with some amazing parents who just happened to give birth to a premature child. A NICU experience is like no other and the bond that parents accumulate with one another are forever cherished in our hearts! Every year at my son’s birthday I think of the other little boys and girls that share in their own special day, their fight and will to live and the love that they filled in all of our hearts.
|My boy in the NICU|
As you can pretty much tell, my boy was a giant among the preemie babies (weighing in at 5 pounds 14 ounces) that surrounded our child’s incubator bed. In overwhelming amonts, child after child came in to the NICU to be taken care of by the wonderful nurses and doctors. If you have never seen a premature baby before trust me it’s a sad sight that you will never forget! My heart ached everyday to see these little angels (some wieghed 1 pound 7 ounces) and all of the tubes and tiny medical equipment used to meet their tiny little needs. Looking around knowing that all of these sweet babies are so strong and have such a road ahead of them.
Even though my boy was not premature he still required an annual shot to protect against RSV for three years! With his medical condition and having one lung and severe heart conditions all of his doctors agreed that protecting against this virus was a very wise decision. My sons home nurses administered his shot for him so I didn’t have to take him to the doctor. It was ordered by his doctor and delivered straight to our home for his nurses to handle. This helped out so much considering just walking into a doctor’s office put my sons anxiety levels through the roof and it took hours for him to calm down.
What is RSV Disease?
- RSV is a virus that infects the lungs
- RSV or respiratory syncytial [sin-sish-uhl] virus is a contagious viral disease that may infect a person’s lungs and breathing passages
- Most children will catch RSV by the age of 2 years
- RSV spreads rapidly among children. While most will recover in 1 to 2 weeks, even after recovery, infants and children can continue to spread the virus for 1 to 3 weeks
- Most people recover from the disease in a week or two, but in premature infants or those with lung or heart problems, severe RSV disease can lead to serious lung infection and hospitalization
- RSV is present year-round but typically goes up in the fall, then peaks in the winter and goes down in early spring. But, the exact timing of RSV season varies by location
Like the flu, RSV disease is seasonal: RSV season usually runs from fall into spring. Find out, based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, when RSV season started and ended in ‘10-’11 where you live.
Your child may be at risk for RSV disease: Know what you’re up against with RSV. Take the RSV risk assessment now.
Talk to your baby’s Doctor: If your baby is at risk for RSV disease, your baby’s doctor is the best person to talk with about preventing RSV disease.
Help prevent RSV disease
- Wash your hands thoroughly before touching your baby, and ask others to do the same
- Don’t let anyone smoke in your home, or near your baby
- Wash your baby’s toys, clothes, and bedding often
- Keep your baby away from:
- — Crowds and young children
- — People with colds
To this day, I am still a stickler for people entering my house around my boy and now my new born baby girl. Year round I keep a sign posted on my door, those who enter must wash and hand sanitize their hands upon entry. I have everything set out by the sinks for my guests and hand sanitizer placed throughout the house. The sign also states that if you or someone that you have been around is sick that you are not to enter into this house. I also proceed to tell them in this sign that it is our lives and it affects us directly, when my son has to go to the hospital for medical purposes we are the ones that live there and sit with him day and night. So be considerate and don’t take the chance. Trust me it’s not a long drawn out sign on my door but it does get to the point in a nice manner and it works!
- Premature birth is a serious health issue in the US. Approximately half a million babies are born prematurely each year.
- Prematurity puts babies at increased risk for a wide range of health and developmental problems, including severe RSV disease.
- Severe RSV disease is the leading cause of hospitalization for infants under 1 year of age in the US.
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.