Protect Little Lungs by Learning the Facts of RSV

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This post was sponsored by AstraZeneca as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Do  you know the leading cause of hospitalization for babies during their first year of life in the United States?  It’s a disease that can cause up to 125,000 infant hospitalizations and around 200 infant deaths per year.  Yet 1/3 of mothers have never heard of it.  Respiratory Syncytial Virus more commonly referred to as RSV.  I had heard the term before, but didn’t quite realize the seriousness of this disease until Willow, then 8 weeks old, tested positive for it at a doctor’s appointment.  Since October is National RSV Awareness Month I wanted to take a moment to not only share our experience, but to also help educate parents and caregivers about the signs and symptoms of RSV as well as preventative measure you can take to protect your little ones lungs this winter.

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It is important to know that all babies are at risk for contracting RSV and nearly all babies by the age of two will have contracted the virus.  RSV season typically runs from November to March and the virus presents itself with symptoms similar to the common cold or flu.  Premature infants born at or earlier than 35 weeks gestational age are at a much higher risk for developing Severe RSV Disease.  They are twice as likely as full term infants to be admitted to the hospital for RSV related symptoms.  Willow was born at exactly 40 weeks gestation and I believe that coupled with the fact her doctor prescribed a nebulizer so that we could do breathing treatments at home is what kept her out of the hospital.  Preemies do not receive the full amount of infection-fighting antibodies that full term infants do and they often have underdeveloped lungs with narrow, fragile airways that are simply not strong enough to fight off RSV symptoms without assistance.

Symptoms that parents and caregivers should watch for and which should be addressed by a doctor immediately include persistent coughing or wheezing, fast or troubled breathing, bluish coloring around the mouth or fingernails, and fever (especially if over 100.4°F in infants under three months of age.)  I can remember Willow’s breathing sounding like if you were to step on snow where the top layer was frozen.  That crunching sound.

The truly scary thing about RSV is that there is currently no treatment for this disease once it is contracted.  There is no quick fix that will just make it go away.  In the hospital they will keep your little one hydrated, keep their oxygen levels up, and suction the mucus to keep their airways clear until the virus has passed.  Since I was lucky to keep Willow out of the hospital I made sure to breastfeed her frequently, gave her breathing treatments as instructed by her pediatrician, and used the Nosefrida Snot Sucker to keep her nasal passages clear.  Yet it still took a few weeks for her to be completely back to her normal healthy self.  For this reason prevention is key.

The best way to prevent RSV to protect your child include reminding everyone in your home and anyone that may hold your child to always wash their hands.  Sanitize your child’s belongings regularly such as toys, clothes, and blankets.  Be sure to visit your child’s pediatrician to find out if they are as risk for Severe RSV Disease.

Another great way to prevent RSV is to educate others and so I strongly encourage you to share the following infographic which briefly touches on everything I have shared here today.  The RSV Protection website also has lots of valuable information to help further educate yourself and others.  Let’s do everything we can to protect our little ones lungs during RSV season and everyday.

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This post was sponsored by AstraZeneca as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

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