Know the Facts about RSV and Premature Babies #RSVAwareness

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RSV, Respitory Syncytial Virus, is a common seasonal virus that affects most babies under the age of 2. The symptoms mimic those of a cold and cough, but can lead to a more serious infection. RSV is more common in the cooler months, starting in November and lasting through March. Most babies that were born at full term will overcome the sickness, while premature babies are at a higher risk of hospitalization. Preemies are more susceptible to RSV due to their under developed lungs and immature immune system.

Things to know about RSV:

  • RSV occurs in epidemics each year, typically from November through March, though it can vary by geography and year-to year.
  • RSV disease is the leading cause of hospitalization for babies during their first year of life in the United States, with approximately 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 400 infant deaths each year.
  • RSV disease is responsible for one of every 13 pediatrician visits and one of every 38 trips to the ER in children under the age of five.
  • Despite being so common, many parents aren’t aware of RSV; in fact, one-third of mothers have never heard of the virus.

Contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits any of the following symptoms:

  • Persistent coughing or wheezing
  • Bluish color around the mouth or fingernails
  • Rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths
  • Fever [especially if it is over 100.4°F (rectal) in infants under 3 months of age]

There are many ways to protect your baby from RSV. It is contagious, so it spreads easily through touching, sneezing, and coughing. The virus can also live on the skin and surfaces for hours. There is no treatment for RSV once it is contacted, that is why prevention is critical. Make sure that anyone that is coming into contact with your baby has washed their hands. It’s ok to double check and ask people. Also, make sure they haven’t been sick recently. Again, as a parent, you have every right to ask people if they are sick or have been sick. Keeping your baby healthy is all that you need to worry about! Keep toys, clothing, and sleep items well cleaned. Try to avoid busy public place with your baby, especially with a preemie.

World Prematurity Day is November 17th

Ask your child’s pediatrician if your baby is at a higher risk of contracting RSV this season.  Understand the facts associated with RSV and don’t be afraid to ask too many questions.

For more information about RSV and prevention, visit

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